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Full text of "Life of Zebulon B. Vance"

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LIFE OF 



ZEBULON B.VANCE 



BY 



CLEMENT DOWD. 



CHARLOTTE, X. C. 

Observer Printing and Publishing House 

1897. 



Entered According to Act of Congress, in the year 1897, 

BY CLEMENT DOWD, 
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Z.B.Vance.... . FRONTISPIECE 

Birthplace of Vance 6 

Fireplace in Room Where Vance was Born 

Vance, Age About 28 

First Law Office 

Vance, Age About 36 Ja j 

Charlotte Residence of Vaiict II2 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles N. Vance L r g 

Mr. and Mrs. David M. Vance I2O 

Kspy and Ruth, Daughters of David M. Vance I22 

Lieut. Z. B. Vance, U. S. A x _ 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Vance 

* 14-4- 

Mother of Z. B. Vance ^ 

Mrs. Harriett Kspy Vance 2l6 

Gombroon.. 

2Io 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Ancestry, Birth, Etc., by Gen. R. B. Vance T 

CHAPTER II. 

Boyhood, F}ducation Begun, by Gen. R. B. Vance l x 

CHAPTER III. 

As Student at the University, by Kemp P. Battle, LL. D. Z 6 

CHAPTER IV. 

Marriage, Public Life Begun, by Gen. R. B. Vance 3I 

CHAPTER V. 

Legislative an J Congressional Record 

CHAPTER VI. 

Breaking Out of the War, Raises a Company, by Gen. R. B. Vance 62 

CHAPTER VII. 

As Soldier and War Governor 6t . 

M227827 



CHAPTER VIII. 

His Arrest and Imprisonment 95 

CHAPTER IX. 

Vance as Lawyer 102 

CHAPTER x. 
Personal and General Description 119 

CHAPTER XI. 
Vance as I Knew Him, by Rev. R. N. Price, D. D 135 

CHAPTER XII. 

Vance and Settle Campaign 142 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Symposium 1 63 

CHAPTER XIV. 

As Governor After the War, by Dr. Chas. D. Mclver, President 

State Normal and Industrial College 204 

CHAPTER XV. 

Death of Mother and Wife 212 

CHAPTER XVI. 

As United States Senator 218 

CHAPTER XVII. 

His Attitude Towards the Farmers Alliance. 279 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Last Sickness and Death 313 

CHAPTER XIX. 
Eulogies in the United States Senate 332 

CHAPTER XX. 

Lecture The Scattered Nation 369 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Address Duties of Defeat 400 

CHAPTER XXII. 

Speech on the Blair Bill .411 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

Speech President Davis Reported Threat to Coerce the Seced 
ing States 424 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

Lecture The Political and Social South During the War 430 

CHAPTER XXV. 

Lecture Last Days of the War in North Carolina 463 



PREFACE. 

k HIS work was undertaken by the undersigned with 
great reluctance. When first solicited he declined 
because he did not consider himself qualified for the ta.sk. 
He felt that Vance s biography should be written by an 
expert, and having had no experience in biographical writing 
and possessing no aptitude for such work, he was unwdlling 
to undertake it. 

But after the lapse of two years it became apparent that 
the work would not be undertaken by any other person, and 
on a renewal of the solicitation from the sons and brother 
of the deceased, the present writer reluctantly consented to 
assume the task. 

To supply in part the conscious defects of the writer s own 
qualifications, he invited a number of distinguished men who 
were more or less intimately associated with Vance at 
various periods of his life, to contribute articles to be printed 
as a symposium, setting forth their respective estimates of 
his characteristics, and especially the sources of his great 
popularity and influence among the masses. A number of 
these gentlemen responded and their articles will be 
read with exceeding interest. And while they agree in 
some essential respects, there is a pleasing variety in the 
presentation of their views and opinions. One important 
fact was perhaps not well known to any of them ; it was not 
understood or fully appreciated by the writer hereof till 
after this work was begun ; and that was Vance s wonderful 
capacity for labor. His great genius which in early life 
outcropped in rolicking speeches and anecdotes upon the 
hustings, took the form in his maturer years of serious 
thoughts, diligent study and statesman-like investigation of 



the problems of legislation. The chapter on his career as 
United States Senator is quite inadequate. There is material 
enough in that title for several volumes of interesting and 
instructive matter that would be as valuable a contribution 
to the political and literary history of the country as 
Benton s "Thirty Years View," or Elaine s Autobiography. 
It is doubtless safe to assert that Vance made more able 
and well prepared speeches and elaborate reports from 
committees during his senatorial term than any one of his 
colleagues. 

It is hoped the time may come when these speeches and 
reports, together with his numerous lectures, addresses and 
essays will be printed in concise and durable form, in order 
that full justice may be done to his memory, and that his 
valuable thoughts and labors may not be lost to posterity. 

Many of his warm personal friends have been very kind 
in the preparation of this volume and have rendered valuable 
assistance. Especial thanks are hereby tendered to the 
writers of the articles before mentioned, and also to 
ex-Governor Jarvis, Mr. S. L. Patterson, Col. J. L. Morehead, 
Dr. J. H. McAden, Geo. E. Wilson, Arch d Graham, 
Mrs. B. L. Dewey, Mrs. J. L. Chambers, Miss Addie Williams, 
Mr. George B. Crater, of the Charlotte Observer, and Prof. 
Alexander Graham, of Charlotte; Mrs. Mary R. Price, of 
Salisbury; Mrs. Ellen Devereaux Hinsdale, F. H. 
Busbee, Esq., Mr. Joseplms Daniels, of the News and 
Observer, Capt. S. A. Ashe, Mr. Ramsey, of the Progressive 
Farmer, J. W. Denmark, and Mr. Ellington, State Librarian, 
of Raleigh; W. H. Bailey, of Texas; W. R. Whitson, 
Asheville; P. M. Wilson, Washington, D. C.; W T . H. S. 
Burgwyn, Henderson; ex-United States Marshal T. J. 
Allison and his son, W. L. Allison, of Statesville; Jno. D. 
Davis, Beaufort, N. C., and many others. 

CLEMENT DOWD. 



CHAPTER I. 

ANCESTRY, BIRTH, ETC. BY GEN. R. B. VANCE. 

Ancestry Came from Normandy Originally Vaux in Scotland and 
England, and DeVaux in France and Vance in Ireland Dukes, 
Princes, Kings and Lords, Soldiers and Officers in the American 
Revolutionary War Settled in Virginia and Afterwards in North 
Carolina Grandfather of Z. B. V. Married in Rowan County- 
Commissioner to Establish Line Between North Carolina and 
Tennessee Captain at King s Mountain In Other Battles Was 
Clerk of Buncombe Court and Colonel of Militia Was in Legisla 
ture of North Carolina Had Buncombe County Established 
His Will His Children David, Father of Z. B. V., Lived and Died 
in Buncombe His Marriage Children Was in War of 1812 
The Baird Family Z. B. Vance s Brothers and Sisters Robt. 
Vance, an Uncle, Was Member of Congress and Killed in a Duel 
Davy Crocket at the Duel His Mother His Own Pranks and 
Peculiarities. 

THE Vance family came from Normandy, and was 
known as Vance, Vans or Devaux. On the conti 
nent of Europe the Devaux have been Dukes of Andrea, 
Princes of Joinville, Taranta and Altainara, Sovereign 
Counts of Orange and Provence, and Kings of Vienne and 
Aries, as well as Lords DeVaux in Normandy. 

Mr. William Balbirnie, of England, in his history of the 
family of Vance in Ireland, Vanse in Scotland, anciently, 
Vaux in Scotland and England, and originally DeVaux in 
France, says: "In 1066 three brothers, Herbert, Randolph 
and Robert, the sons of Harold DeVaux, Lord of Vaux, in 
Normandy, accompanied William the Conqueror to Eng 
land, and there their descendants became Lords DeVaux of 
Pentry, and Brevor in Norfolk, of Gilliesland in Cumber 
land, and Harrowden in Northamptonshire. Quite a 
number of the family emigrated to the United States." 

Mr. Balbirnie says : " Andrew, the fourth son of John 
Vance, emigrated to America and there became the founder 



2 LIFE OF VANCE. 

of a family ; one of his sons was an officer in the American 
war, and was killed in action, fighting under Washington. 

" A descendant of his was member of Congress for North 
Carolina in 1824, an d was appointed one of the commis 
sioners to settle the boundary between Florida and South 
America, in the spring of that year." 

The person referred to here must have been Dr. Robert 
Vance, the uncle of Senator Zebulon Vance, as he was in 
Congress in 1824 an d "825, as will further appear in this 
sketch. 

Samuel Vance, the father of David Vance, resided in 
Virginia, having married a Miss Colville, and eight children 
were born to him, to-wit : five sons and three daughters. 
Of these sons, David, grandfather of Z. B. Vance, was the 
eldest, who was born perhaps about A. D. 1745. David 
came to North Carolina about 1775, and Samuel Vance 
moved to the neighborhood of Abington, Va., where his 
descendants may still be found. 

The grandfather of Zebulon Baird Vance, the David 
mentioned above, married Priscilla Brank, in what is now 
Rowan County, N. C., in the year 1775, or near that period. 
At the session of the Legislature for 1796 David Vance, 
General Joseph McDowell and Mussendine Matthews were 
appointed commissioners to settle the boundary line be 
tween North Carolina and Tennessee, which they did in 
the year 1799, beginning at White Top Mountain, where 
the three States of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee 
join, and located the line of North Carolina and Tennessee 
to a point on the Great Smokey Range, near where Catta- 
loocha turnpike crosses the famous Mount Starling. 

Said David Vance was an ensign in the Continental 
army, and afterwards captain at King s Mountain ; he was 
also in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, and 
was with Washington at Valley Forge, in the winter of 
1777 and 1778; also fought at Ramsour s Mill, and proba 
bly at the Cowpens. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 3 

Capt. Vance, in speaking of the death of Ferguson, at 
King s Mountain, used to say " that during the battle a horse 
galloped down from the crown of the mountain, which was 
supposed to be Ferguson s." The reader of Kennedy s 
" Horse Shoe Robinson " will remember that he mentioned 
a similar circumstance as having occurred during that 
wonderful battle a battle fought on our side without 
cavalry, without a drum or a fife or an ambulance. 

Capt. David Vance, after moving with his family from 
the Catawba River, near Morganton, to Reem s Creek, ten 
miles north of Asheville, in Buncombe, was appointed Clerk 
of the Court for Buncombe County, which position he filled 
with fidelity and acceptability until the day of his death. 

He was also elected Colonel of the Militia, in those days 
a position of importance, in the unsettled condition of the 
country. 

It is related of Miss Celia Vance, David s daughter, who 
afterwards married Benj. S. Brittain, of Cherokee, that she 
passed where the militia were drilling at the big muster, as 
it was called, and caught on to the words of the manual of 
arms ; went home, took down "Old Billy Craig," a gun six 
and one-half feet in the barrel, and went through the man 
ual. When she came to the words, "Ready, Aim, Fire," 
not knowing that " Old Billy " was loaded, she pulled the 
trigger ; the gun knocked her down, and the load tore a 
rent in the partition in which one could lay his arm. 

The effect of Miss Celia s drill was long afterwards to be 
seen in the dear old house, where Zebulon Baird Vance 
had his eyes first opened to the light of this world. 

Col. David Vance represented Buncombe County in the 
Legislature of 1785 and 1786; also in 1791 ; and it was 
during the session of 1791 that he had the bill passed set 
ting off Buncombe County from the counties of Burke and 
Rutherford. 

The will of Col. Vance, for clearness of diction and 
beauty of the handwriting, has seldom been surpassed. A 



4 LIFE OF VANCK. 

portion is here copied to show the trend of his mind on 
that solemn occasion, viz : " I, David Vance, of the County 
of Buncombe, in the State of North Carolina, being of 
sound and perfect mind and memory, as I hope these 
presents, drawn up by myself and written with my own 
hand, will testify," etc. 

In disposing of some old slaves, he directs : " It is my 
will and desire that they have full liberty, and I do by 
these presents give them full liberty, to go and live with 
any of my children where their own children live, not as 
slaves, but as old acquaintances, who labored and spent 
their strength to raise my said children and their own also. 
I enjoin it upon my children who may have the children 
of said black, old people, not to confine them, but let them 
go awhile to one, and a while to another, where their 
children may be ; and I enjoin it upon my children to see 
that the evening of the lives of these black people slide 
down as comfortable as may be. * * * * And I charge 
and adjure my negroes, old and young, as they will answer 
to God, to be obedient and obliging to their mistress, and 
not vex or contrary her in old age. * * * * And now, 
having disposed of and settled all my worldly business and 
concerns, do I, with a lively faith, humbly lay hold of the 
meritorious death and sufferings of Christ Jesus, and hope 
and trust thro His atonement to triumph in redeeming 
love, the ceaseless ages of eternity." 

Col. Vance was buried in the old burying grounds on 
the Vance farm, in 1813, by his family, the neighbors and 
the Revolutionary Surviving Comrades, whose arms, in the 
" Honors of War " awoke the echoes of the mountains as 
they laid him away forever. 

He left surviving him his wife, three sons, Samuel, 
David and Robert, and five daughters, Jean, who married 
Hugh Davidson ; Elizabeth, who married Mitchell David 
son, and after his death Samuel W. Davidson ; Sarah, who 
married McLean; Priscilla, who married 



LIFE OF VANCE. 5 

Whitson, and Celia, who married Benjamin S. Brittain. 
Samuel and the daughters, Jean, Sarah and Priscilla (with 
their husbands), about the beginning of this century, re 
moved to and settled upon the lands in Tennessee on Duck 
River, which their father had provided for them. They 
left numerous children, some of whom still reside in that 
country. The late Judge Hugh Lawson Davidson and his 
brother, Robert B. Davidson, who is still living, and a 
highly esteemed citizen and member of the bar of Shelby- 
ville, Tennessee, were the sons of Jean. 

Samuel Vance was Sheriff of Buncombe County. He 
moved from North Carolina to Middle Tennessee, where 
he died. His daughter, Mrs. Mary Burdett, now resides in 
Texas, near the city of Austin. 

David Vance, father of Z. B. Vance, the second son of 
David and Priscilla, lived and died in Buncombe County, 
the place of his death being now Marshall, in the County 
of Madison, which took place izj-th of January, 1844, caused 
by paralysis. He was born 9th of January, 1792 ; married 
Mira Margaret Baird on 2d of January, 1825. The cere ~ 
mony was performed two and a half miles north of 
Asheville, on the old Buncombe turnpike, at the home of 
her father, Zebulon Baird, late State Senator from the 
Buncombe District. The preacher on that occasion was 
the Rev. Stephen Morgan, deceased, a Baptist minister, 
who was well known through all this section of country. 

The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Mira M. Vance were 
James, John, Andrew, Joseph and Adolphus, Sarah Ann 
and Mary Adelaide. James, John and Andrew died in 
other States, having moved from North Carolina. Joseph 
and Adolphus remained with Capt. Vance in business, and 
Joseph finally died at the Old Alexander Hotel, on the 
French Broad River, and Adolphus died in Asheville. 
The Baird young men were men of ready wit and fine 
business qualities. 

When Joseph Baird was at Lapland (now Marshall) a 



6 LIFE OF VANCE. 

traveller, who seemed astonished at the steepness of the 
river mountains, where he saw corn growing, asked Joseph 
how the people planted it. Joseph told him " they shot it 
in with a shotgun." 

It is further related of Joseph Baird that on a certain 
occasion a handsome, well-dressed stranger arrived at 
Capt. David Vance s, at Lapland. Every one regarded the 
splendid looking man, with his black cloth suit, as a Pres 
byterian preacher. He was very quiet, and his manners 
elegant and refined. After supper Joseph got his old fiddle 
down and began to practice. The noise was terrific and 
fearful to listen to. Capt. Vance, being a staid elder in 
the Presbyterian Church, was horrified. He had a habit 
of pacing the floor under excitment, and of laying off with 
his hands and talking to himself. These things he did on 
the occasion mentioned. The Captain gently hinted to the 
tall gentleman in black that his room was ready. He po 
litely declined to go to bed, and Joseph played away until 
about ii o clock, when he stuck the fiddle suddenly under 
the preacher s nose, saying : " Stranger, play us a tune." 
Lo, he was the finest fiddler the ear ever listened to. The 
whole house got out of bed to hear his masterly strokes on 
the violin, and so Capt. Vance went to bed and left him " at 
it." Next morning Capt. Vance came into the hall, in 
serted his hand into the preacher s overcoat and pulled out a 
letter and read the address : " David Vance McLean." It 
was his nephew, the son of his sister, Sallie McLean, of 
Duck River, Tennessee. The quietude of the " preacher " 
was explained ; he kept his identity from his uncle in order 
to more successfully view the land. The meeting of uncle 
and nephew was a happy one. 

It is thought that Zebulon B. Vance owed much of his 
native wit to the Baird branch of the family. 

Sarah Ann Baird, sister of Mira M. Vance, rnarried 
Bacchus J. Smith, a merchant of Burnsville, N. C. She 
raised a large family of children, including Lucius, of 



LIFE OF VANCE. 7 

Yancey County ; Horace, of Buncombe ; David, of Oregon ; 
Adolphus, of Yancey, and Mrs. H. A. Gudger, Mrs. Mark 
W. Robertson and Mrs. Kate Erwin, of Asheville. 

Miss Mary Adelaide Baird never married, but lived and 
died in Asheville, highly esteemed and loved for her vigor 
ous intellect and fine character. 

The family of David and Mira Margaret Vance consisted 
of L,aura Henrietta, born i3th April, 1826 ; Robert Brank, 
born 24th April, 1828 ; Zebulon Baird, born i3th May, 
1830 ; James Noel, born loth February, 1833 ; Ann Edge- 
worth, born 25th April, 1836; Sarah Priscilla, born 4th 
January, 1838 ; David L,eonidas, born loth January, 1840, 
and Hannah Moore, born loth August, 1842. 

James Noel suffered from apoplexy, and was found dead 
in the garden of Robert Brank in the fall of 1854. 

David Leonidas died at Marshall, and lies buried on the 
French Broad at that place. 

Capt. David Vance was an active and useful business 
man, remarkable to a high degree for his kindness and 
generosity to the poor. The rule was very nearly universal 
in Madison County (then Buncombe) for Capt. Vance to 
redeem the sale of cows and other property essential to the 
happiness of his neighbor families, where the sale had been 
forced, under the hammer, as was often the case in those 
days, there being no homestead, and the old Ca-Sa law 
being in force. 

Capt. Vance died in the communion of the Presbyterian 
Church, and was buried at the old Vance farm, on Reem s 
Creek. Capt. Vance was a volunteer in the War of 1812, 
and got as far towards the seat of war with his company as 
Wadesboro, but there the news of peace met them, and 
they were discharged. 

Dr. Robert Vance, the third son of Col. David Vance, of 
King s Mountain memory, and of Priscilla Vance, was 
lame, on account of white swelling. He practiced medi 
cine in Western North Carolina, as persons have recently 



O LIFE OF VANCE. 

testified, and was occasionally in the practice when he was 
elected to Congress in 1824, ver Felix Walker, of Hay- 
wood County. He was defeated for Congress in 1826 by 
the Hon. Samuel T. Carson. During the canvass some 
words passed between Vance and Carson, and Vance said : 
" If I am .lame in the foot, I am not in the arm," and a 
duel followed, which took place on the South Carolina side 
of the line, at Saluda Gap, in 1827. Vance was shot 
fatally, and died at midnight from his wound, his last 
words being " Ou^, brief candle." 

The writer has often seen the belt worn by Dr. Vance, 
with the fatal bullet-hole, and has also seen the pistols 
used on the occasion. The one used by Carson had a 
notch cut in the handle. They belonged to Mr. Palmer, a 
jeweler of Raleigh. 

It is a singular fact that the celebrated David Crocket, 
of Tennessee, trained Carson in his pistol practice, and was 
present at the duel. Recently the writer has received by 
express the walking-cane of Dr. Vance, which has been 
many years in the hands of Mrs. Mary Burdett, of Austin, 
Texas, a daughter of Samuel Vance, deceased. 

The mother of Senator Zebulon B. Vance was born 22d 
December, 1802, at the old Baird farm, already mentioned. 
She died at the old Elisha Ray farm, distant from the place 
of her birth and marriage only two and a half miles. She 
united with the Presbyterian Church in 1822, and re 
mained in the communion of that Church until several of 
her children had joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, and she then cast her lot with them in that Church. 
The love she had for her old Church remained with her 
while life lasted. 

In many respects she was a remarkable woman. She 
was exceedingly fond of reading, and her eye-sight was 
so vigorous that when she was seventy-five years of age 
she could read her Bible, a fine print, without spectacles. 
She was quite a cheerful woman, and greatly enjoyed 



LIFE OF VANCE. 9 

witty things, provided no pain followed the witticisms. 
Her children recall the glee with which she would relate 
many of the " Border Tales." 

This excellent woman went to school with Governor 
Swain, of North Carolina, and Governor Perry, of South 
Carolina, and entertained at her house in Marshall John 
C. Calhoun and William C. Preston, of South Carolina, 
and other eminent men. She survived her husband thirty- 
four years, rearing her children " in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord," and by her consistent and noble 
life, bearing such evidence to all around, that, at her 
funeral, October, 1878, the Rev. James Atkins, D. D., was 
justified in saying, in his eloquent sermon, "She hath 
done what she could." The love of her children clings 
around her dust on " Cemetery Hill," overlooking the 
Tah-kee-ostee, beside whose waters so much of her life had 
been spent. She sleeps well, and nothing earthly can 
break her rest. The thunder around her resting place oft 
times shakes the earth. The French Broad lashes its 
waters in anger against the shore, and 

The years in the sheaf, they come and they go 
With the river s ebb and the river s flow, 

But 

Her rest still is deep 

Where the ivies creep 

And the angels their holy vigils keep. 

It will be readily seen that Zebulon B. Vance had a line 
of ancestors on both sides of the house of which no one 
knowing them or knowing of them, need be ashamed. 
The old house where Zebulon was born was one of 4 the 
oldest houses in the country, being at the time when taken 
down, only recently, about 100 years old, and which had 
never been recovered, having a roof of heart pine shingles. 
Fortunately a photograph was taken of the old mansion, 
which is hereby presented to the reader. 

Young Zebulon was a remarkable boy, as he afterwards 
proved himself to be a remarkable man. 



10 LIFE OF VANCE. 

He and the other children had measels when he was 
three years of age. To keep him in the house his mother 
had a hickory log brought into the house. This log he 
chopped on with a surveyor s hatchet, given to him by his 
life-long and beloved friend, Nehemiah Blackstock, Esq., 
who, with his loving companion, "Aunt Leeky," have en 
tered into rest. 

It was not long after this that he and his brother were 
baptized in the old Presbyterian Church at Col. Robert 
Williamson s, on Reem s Creek. Rev. Mr. Porter was the 
officiating minister on the occasion. 

Owing to Zebulon s vivacity of words and manners, 
some of his family feared he would say something to the 
preacher, but he simply looked up at him and said noth 
ing. Young Zeb was an extraordinary boy from the time 
he was old enough to understand and to play pranks on 
people. One peculiarity of his was to stand in the branch 
and drink water on his all-fours. It was a kind of lapping 
process, reminding one of Gideon s famous u 300." 

He was given, in his extreme boyhood, to profanity, 
learned, probably, from the young colored men on the 
farm. While at school his teacher, Mathew Woodson, 
Esq., long since gone to rest, undertook the laudable task 
of breaking Zeb of the habit. He placed the boy at a 
mouse-hole, with a pair of tongs in his hands, and told him 
to not open his mouth until he caught the mouse. Zeb 
took his place at the hole, and the work of the school went 
on. Finally the time for " spelling by heart " came round, 
and in the excitement of the contest everybody forgot Zeb. 
All at once he startled the school by shouting out : 
" Damned if I haven t got him ! " and sure enough, he had 
the mouse gripped with the tongs. 



LIFE OF VANCE. . II 



CHAPTER II. 

BOYHOOD, EDUCATION BEGUN. BY GEN. R. B. VANCE. 

Enters School Six Years of Age Hotel Clerk at Hot Springs Falls 
from a Tree and Breaks a Limb His Poetry The Old Patched 
Trousers Went to Washington College Death of His Father 
Goes to Chapel Hill Gets License and Begins the Practice of 
Law. 

EBULON was about six years of age when he entered 
the school of M. Woodson, Esq. The school build 
ing was on Flat Creek, and was a preaching place for Rev. 
Stephen Morgan, before mentioned. Zeb boarded with 
Nehemiah Blackstock, Esq., who resided on the Burnsville 
road, 13 miles north of Asheville. The squire was fond 
of telling anecdotes on Zebulon, many of which have been 
preserved in that section of country. Among others, was 
one in connection with a blank book the squire kept for 
certain uses. He told Zeb that when he did anything 
wrong a black spot would come in the book. Squire s 
son Bob had a pony called " Pomp," and when Zeb did not 
behave at school as Bob desired he should, he would go 
home a near way on " Pomp," and inform his father. 
Zeb fought with one of the boys one day, and when he got 
to the mansion that evening he saw the squire looking 
into the book. He shrunk back at first, but after a while 
he ventured to go into the room where the squire was sit 
ting. " It s there, is it, Uncle Miah ? " said Zeb. " Yes," 
said the squire ; u it is very large and black to-day. What 
have you done ? " "I whipped - - to-day," said the boy. 
" What for, Zeb ? " " Well, Uncle Miah, he was so cussed 
ugly that I could not help it." 

Mr. Woodson, after the close of the Flat Creek school, 
opened another on the French Broad, two and a half miles 



12 t LIFE OF VANCE. 

from Capt. D. Vance s, and Zeb was a pupil there. He 
went afterwards to school to Miss Jane Hughey, who 
taught in the neighborhood of Lapland, now Marshall. 
These " old field schools," as they were called, were precious 
to his memory. Many of the teachers have passed over, 
and 

" Their switches are rust, 

" Their school houses are dust, 

" Their souls are with the saints, we trust!" 

After Zebulon had been to school in the country schools 
he stopped a while at Hot Springs, N. C., as hotel 
clerk, with John E. Patton, Esq., who was a lasting friend 
to the young man. During his stay there he had occasion 
to reprimand Mr. Patton s famous colored servant, Cato. 
The youngster said " he would rob the guilty world of 
Cato s life," whereupon a Southern gentleman, sitting 
near by, declared he was the first literary clerk at a hotel 
desk he had met with. After his return from Hot Springs 
his old friend, Edmund Sams, a near neighbor, was alarm 
ingly ill. Zebulon, having been with Dr. McCree, of 
Morganton, who treated him for white swelling, had 
gathered up a good many ideas about medicines and reme 
dies. So he offered his services to his old friend, and 
relieved him from what seemed to be a fatal attack. 
While convalescing the old man frequently talked to 
himself on this wise : " Who would have thought it. I 
don t suppose there is a man in the country could have 
done this except Squire Baird " an uncle of Zeb s. Along 
about this time Zeb met with several injuries which gave 
him a good deal of pain and trouble. He fell from a tree 
and was ruptured, from which trouble he was relieved by 
his friend, Dr. McCree, and afterwards he fell from a horse- 
apple tree, a mile from home, and broke his thigh. His 
brother Robert carried him home on his back. His 
father s friend, and the friend of Dr. Robert Vance, Dr. J. 
F. E. Hardy, set his leg, at Lapland, the leg being placed 



LIFE OF VANCE. 13 

in a box, according to the practice of that day and time. 
He amused himself while confined by throwing little round 
rocks, taken from the banks of the river, at the other 
children. 

It is probably true that the time will never come when 
stories are not repeated in the French Broad Valley and all 
the adjacent country, including Tennessee and other States, 
about the boyhood of Zeb Vance. 

Some travelers passed his father s house and asked Zeb 
if there was any liquor about the house. He said yes, his 
mother had some. They gave him a bottle, and he went 
to * " Mammy Venus," the warm-hearted old servant who 
helped rear the children, and got a bottle of pot-liquor and 
gave it to the travelers. He charged them nothing, but 
made them promise not to open it till they got out of sight. 
The effect of the opening of the bottle can be imagined. 
Zeb had kept in sight to see the fun. 

Zebulon s mother was a very frugal housewife, and pos 
sessed a good deal of skill in reducing Capt. Vance s old 
broadcloth suits to fit Zebulon. In fact, she was one of 
those who 

" Wi her needles and her shears, 

" Gares auld cloes amaistas weel s the new." 

In memory of this fact, Zebulon wrote the following in 
the days of his boyhood : 

THE LITTLE PATCHED TROUSERS. 
How dear to my heart are the pants of my childhood, 

When fond recollection presents them to view; 
The pants that I wore in the deep tangled wildwood, 

And likewise the groves where the crab-apples grew. 

*" Mammy Venus" was sold at the sale of personal property 
belonging to Capt. Vance in 1844. She ascended the block with 
Hannah, Zeb s sister, in her arms, and said : " Whoever takes Venus 
takes my chile. " Mrs. Vance bid "one dollar," and before anyone 
had time to speak Venus said " Bress de Lord, I keeps my chile," and 
away she went with baby Hanna in her strong arms. The shout of 
the people was loud and happy. She "tipped the beam" at 250 
pounds. 



14 LIFE OF VANCE. 

The wide-spreading seat with its little square patches, 
The pockets that bulged with my luncheon for noon, 

And also with marbles and fish-worms and matches, 
And gum-drops and kite-strings from March until June. 

The little patched trousers, the made-over trousers, 
The high- water trousers that fit me too soon. 

No pantaloons ever performed greater service 
In filling the hearts of us youngsters with joy; 

They made the descent from Adolphus to Jervis, 
Right down through a family of ten little boys. 

Through no fault of mine known to me or to others, 
I m the tenderest branch on our big family tree, 

And having done service for nine older brothers, 
They come down to me slightly bagged at the knee. 

The little patched trousers, the second-hand trousers, 
The old family trousers that bagged at the knee. 

Z. B. VANCE. 

When Zebulon was about twelve years of age his father 
sent him to Washington College, near Jonesboro, East 
Tennessee, presided over by Rev. Alexander Doak, D. D. 
He was at that place when he received news of the pros 
tration of his father, Capt. David Vance, and he got home 
just in time to see him die. He did not return to Wash 
ington College, but at a later period he entered the 
University of North Carolina, and was a pupil of Governor 
Swain. On Zeb s arrival at Chapel Hill the boys proposed 
to put him through the "hazing" process. So they first 
tied Zeb s big toes to a bed-post. He, however, asked 
leave to tell them some " mountain yarns," and he thus 
entertained them until broad day light. Then a tall stu 
dent named Respass told the boys that they could not 
haze Zeb Vance while he was around, and so the hazino- 

t 

was abandoned. Young Vance was quite a favorite with 
Governor Swain, and the friendship of the dear old Presi 
dent for Zeb remained as long as the Governor (Swain) 
lived. President Swain was in the habit of lecturing before 
his class on political economy, and related with much glee 
that the currency of the State of Frankland (cut off from 



LIFE OF VANCE. 15 

North Carolina) consisted of coon skins. " After awhile," 
the Governor said, "the traders got to sewing to possum skins 
the tails of the coons. What kind of a currency would you 
call that, Mr. Vance ? " the Governor enquired of Zeb. The 
young man answered him at once : " A retail currency." 

Young Vance remained at the University until he was 
ready to apply for his law license, which he obtained at 
Raleigh about the ist of January, 1852. On his return 
from Raleigh with his license he visited the western 
counties as an attorney. 

lyong afterwards, Zeb, in lecturing before the Law Col 
lege of the District of Columbia, referred to this trip in 
about these words : " I went out to Court horseback, and 
carried a pair of saddle-bags, with a change of shirts and 
the North Carolina Form-book in one end of the saddle 
bags, and it is none of your business what was in the 
other." This brought down the house, about 150 students 
occupying the stand of the new National Theatre with him. 



1 6 LIFE OF VANCK. 



CHAPTER III. 

AS STUDENT AT UNIVERSITY. BY KEMP P. BATTLE, IX. D. 

Vance Enters College and Takes a Special Course His Appearance, 
Manner, Habits Loves Fun But Loves Good Books Studies Well 
Wins the Good Opinion of the Students and Faculty A Great 
Favorite with Gov. Swain ajid Doctor Mitchell Witty Speeches, 
Quick Rejoinders, Anecdotes, Incidents, Puns, Bon Mots Mock 
Trial Moot Court His Parting Remarks, Etc. 

MONO the inhabitants of the lands east of the Blue 
Ridge, I claim to be the first discoverer of Zebulon 
Baird Vance. In the summer of 1848 I visited Asheville 
in company with my father, who, as Superior Court Judge, 
was holding a special term for the County of Buncombe. 
The old court house had been burned. Timbers had been 
hauled for the erection of a more handsome structure. I 
was sitting on these timbers in the soft radiance of a full 
moon light, talking to a young lawyer who had a brain by 
nature large enough to have placed him among the moun 
tain giants, Newton Coleman. He called to a young man 
passing by and introduced him to me as Zeb Vance. My 
new acquaintance impressed me at once as a youth of 
peculiar attractiveness of manner and gifts of mind. I 
thought I knew something of Shakspere, but his familiar 
ity with the characters and words of the Titan poet put me 
to shame. I claimed to be in a measure intimate with the 
personages of the romances of my favorite, Scott, but he 
had evidently lived with them as with home-folks. I had 
been from childhood, not always a willing, but certainly a 
regular attendant on Sunday school and church services, and 
I thought I had at least an amateur familiarity with the 
Bible, but his mind seemed to be stored with Scriptural 
texts as fully as a theological student preparing for his 



LIFE OF VANCE. 17 

examination. Candor compels me to admit, however, that 
his application of these texts conduced oftener to risibility 
than to the conversion of souls. His wit sparkled like the 
wavelets of the "ever laughing ocean." His humor had 
no acridity, and was distinguished by the extraordinary 
power not only of perennial pleasantness, but of gently 
forcing his companions to feel that they had known and 
loved him from boyhood. 

I returned to my home in Chapel Hill, and among my 
memories of pellucid waters and tumbling cascades, green 
laurel and gray crags, the dark summits and graceful out 
line of sleeping Pisgah and frowning Mitchell, the most 
pleasant was that of my genial new friend. I assumed the 
prophet s role, and predicted that on the western flank of 
the Blue Ridge was kindling a light which would one day 
illumine our State, and perhaps send its rays to far off St. 
Croix, the Rio Grande and the Golden Horn. 

Three years passed. I was tutor of mathematics in the 
University. At a meeting of the Faculty President Swain, 
or, as he was generally called, Governor Swain, read a 
letter which he had just received from an incoming stu 
dent. He remarked with a humorous twinkle of the eye, 
that the writer was Zeb Vance, a son of an old sweetheart 
of his. I do not recall the words, but the manly tone of 
the letter impressed us all. It stated that the writer had a 
small property, but it was not then productive, and asked 
for a loan of three hundred dollars, with which to take a 
partial course in the University, and at the same time pur 
sue his legal studies in the Law School, then conducted by 
Judge Win. H. Battle and Mr. Samuel F. Phillips. The 
loan was readily, indeed gladly, granted by the kind-hearted 
President, and was repaid, principal and interest, no great 
while afterwards by the recipient, who, without tedious 
waiting, became a successful lawyer, and in six years was 
occupying a seat in the House of Representatives of the 
Union. 



1 8 LIFE OF VANCE. 

In the academical department the young student elected 
the course under the President, including constitutional 
law, political economy and intellectual philosophy, three 
hours a week ; that under Dr. Mitchell, including chemistry, 
geology and mineralogy, three hours a week, and rhetoric 
and logic under Dr. Wheat, two hours. He was thus what 
is now called an optional student, but was then known as 
a "milish" i. <?., a militia-man, as distinguished from a 
"regular." 

While he appeared not to devote himself to a diligent 
perusal of his text-books, his command of his mental 
faculties and quickness to learn were such that his class 
standing as a rule was good. As the contrary opinion is 
prevalent, I fortify this statement not only by my own 
recollection of what was said at Faculty meetings by his 
instructors, but by the clear and incontrovertible testimony 
of .Hon. S. F. Phillips, once Solicitor General of the 
United States, the only survivor of those preceptors. 
President Swain, an incomparable judge of the gifts of a 
politician, predicted that he would be Governor of the State. 
I call also as witnesses that most worthy teacher and inti 
mate friend of Vance, Dr. Richard H. Lewis, of Kinston, 
who sat next to him in class, and also that most intelligent 
farmer, Captain John R. Hutchins, likewise a class-mate. 
Mr. Richard H. Battle, of Raleigh, remembers distinctly, 
as I do, that our father, Judge Battle, praised Vance as a 
good student of law. I regret that I can find no written 
reports on this subject, but in the old curriculum days 
" milish " were such an infinitesimal part of University 
life that their standing does not appear in the registrar s 
office. 

Dr. Lewis tells the following incident as showing his 
quickness and accuracy of memory. It will be admitted 
either that he learned with marvellous rapidity, or that, on 
this occasion at least, he had been a faithful student before 
hand. 



UFE OF VANCE. 19 

" One day, in the recitation on international law, in 
Gov. Swain s room, we were called upon to give a list of 
the cases bearing upon the question of contraband of war. 
There were some thirty or forty cases cited in the text 
book, all of which were required to be accurately memo 
rized. Having no memory worth speaking of, I had 
written all these cases, in pencil, upon my left boot, foot 
and -leg. Vance, who always sat by me, saw me reading 
the cases. Lewis, said he, lend me your leg. Without 
waiting for my consent, he jerked my leg up into his lap, 
and rapidly read the names, and returned my limb. In a 
few minutes I was called upon to recite the list. I think 
I gave three or four, not more, and sat down covered with 
confusion. Mr. Vance, advance to the front and cite the 
cases bearing upon this point, said Gov. Swain, with an 
appreciative smile at his own pun. Vance rose promptly and 
gave every one of the cases with the weary air of one who 
had been knowing the thing for ten years. When he sat 
down he gave me a dig in the ribs with his elbow, saying : 
Lewis, why don t you study your lesson, you lazy fellow. " 

I cannot print this reminiscence without stating, firstly, 
that Dr. Lewis certainly is unjust to the strength of his 
own memory, and, secondly, that in the ante-war days it 
was, by the rigid but inexplicable code of student morals, 
considered perfectly right to use such aids to memory, un 
less the user was aiming at high honors or prizes. 

Vance always, in all the vicissitudes of his eventful life, 
retained a loving remembrance of his University friends. 
I have heard him repeatedly say that their friendship and 
support had greatly helped him in his political career. A 
quotation from a recent letter of Mrs. Cornelia Phillips 
Spencer well illustrates this steadfastness of affection: 
" Early in 1862, when Vance and his regiment, the 
Twenty-Sixth, retreated from near Newbern, with loss of 
( all save honor, appeals were made for blankets and fur 
nishings of every sort for them. I made up a parcel for 



20 LIFE OF VANCE. 

the Colonel of articles which I judged likely to be useful 
to a soldier in camp. I wrote Vance a letter with the par 
cel, and received from him one of the most tender, gentle, 
warm-hearted effusions I have ever read. He wrote of Mr. 
Spencer as if he had been of kin to him, recalling him 
as he knew him in college. All this written in camp, 
under circumstances that would have been ample excuse 
for not writing at all. All that I have ever known of Gov 
ernor Vance has been of this complexion. He honored 
every draft made on his friendship and memory of old days." 

Notwithstanding his superabundant vitality and love of 
fun, and notwithstanding it was in his day considered 
manly and spirited to engage in "deviling" the Faculty, 
Vance was an orderly student and respectful to his supe 
riors. One of his class-mates, once an eminent teacher, but 
recently mayor of Columbus, in Georgia, Mr. James J. 
Slade, writes me: "Naturally a sensitive and honorable 
man, being a college beneficiary (Y. ^., receiving free tuition), 
he was more prudent than many of us wished him to be on 
student and Faculty differences. This prudence at first 
was misinterpreted, but a word from his friend, Leon F. 
Siler, who was himself a prudent and very honorable man, 
set our minds right as to Vance." I do not think that a 
sense of obligation to the Faculty for his tuition, and to 
President Swain for the loan, with which he paid his other 
expenses, was the only motive securing him from rowdy 
conduct. Like Slade himself, who was not a benficiary, 
he had too much kindness of heart and respect for age and 
authority to permit him voluntarily to annoy the profes 
sors, although of course he was an unrivalled mimic of 
their peculiarities among the boys. 

I think it hardly probable that there could be found in 
any institution a student, continuing only one year, who 
made an impression more lasting than did young Vance. 
He was a favorite with the Faculty, and yet the most 
malignant fault-finder never dreamed of applying to him 



LIFE OF VANCE. 21 

the ignoble epithet, "boot-lick," or as the moderns phrase 
it, "booter." He was a favorite with students, from the 
most timid Freshman up to the first honor Senior and the 
law student about to apply for his license, even up to those 
great men sitting on the loftiest pinnacle of college glory, 
dight in all the splendor of blue and white regalia, the 
commencement chief marshal and chief ball manager. His 
genial humor shone over all and was delightful to all. 
There was no preliminary formality or chilliness to pass 
through in order to obtain the friendly grasp of hand and 
gleam of eye. Good old Dr. Mitchell, in a geological ex 
cursion with his class, took no offence when, passing by a 
ruined mill house, Vance asked with seeming gravity : 
"Doctor, do you think that old mill house is worth a 
dam?" Nor when the impudent irrepressible called to him 
to deviate from his path in order to tap with his hammer 
and investigate the character of an alleged rare specimen 
of chlorite, or greenstone, which turned out to be a round, 
ripe watermelon captured from a neighboring field. 

His delightfully genial and cordial manner was caused 
by his large and kindly heart. He treated with unvarying 
politeness not only the great but the small. In addition 
to his equals and superiors, he won the admiration of the 
college servants, from the dignified Dave Barham and 
Doctor November to the humblest wood-cutter. One of 
these servants still survives, a University janitor of fifty 
years, a man of high character and uncommon intelligence, 
Wilson Caldwell. So attached was he to the gay moun 
taineer that, although a member of the Republican party, 
his heart always compelled him to give Vance, whenever 
a candidate, his influence and his vote. And whenever, as 
Governor or as Senator, or as the chosen orator at com 
mencement, Vance visited the University, his colored 
friends received the same warm greeting and hand-shake 
as their superiors in social standing. 

I interject an episode which may give a clearer idea of 



22 LIFE OF VANCE. 

his manner. Not long before his death, after he had 
attained eminence by his tariff speeches in the United 
States Senate, he attended a fair of the North Carolina 
Agricultural Society as the invited orator. One of his 
old soldiers, a seasoned veteran, who had passed through 
a hundred storms of whizzing bullets, with clothes rough 
and unfashionable, but with the look and manner of a 
brave and true man, came up bashfully to shake the hand 
of his old Colonel. The Senator recognized him at once, 
and his face glowed with a kindly welcome. Pretending 
to roll up his sleeve and moisten his hand for a firmer 
grip, he seized the old soldier s hand with enthusiasm, 
shouting with cordial tones: " How are you, old horse? " 
It was delightful to witness the extreme pleasure conferred 
by this homely greeting. It could be safely predicted that 
he and his children and children s children, and their 
their neighbors too, would be "Vance men" forever. 

His popularity with the students began as soon as he 
alighted from the Western stage in front of Miss Nancy 
Hilliard s hotel, a stranger, without a friend. Some of 
his travelling companions were last term s students return 
ing. Of course these were overwhelmed by cordial 
greetings from their acquaintances, and he was neglected 
and solitary. Determined not to be thus left out in the 
cold, he rushed with overwhelming gush to a venerable 
negro standing near, never seen before, and shook his hand 
with extreme cordiality. It was not five minutes before 
every man in the company had sought his acquaintance 
and taken him in his heart. And as the story flew through 
the village, he became at once a notable character. 

One of his class-mates, who has attained the highest rank in 
the esteem of our people, Major James W. Wilson, writes me : 
" I remember well Vance s first appearance at the Hill home 
made shoes and clothes, about three inches between pants and 
shoes, showing his sturdy ankles ; quick and rough at re 
partee, and mostly remarkable for his jokes." But while 



LIFE OF VANCE. 23 

not dressed in Parisian style, few could fail on close ac 
quaintance to be impressed, as I was in our moon-light 
interview in Asheville, with the fact that he had a brain 
large and active; a memory tenacious, a nature overflowing 
with joyous love of fun, and to a surprising degree accurate 
information of many subjects and many authors. He 
possessed the advantage, rare in our mountain country, of 
a good library at home, left to his parents by his uncle, 
David Vance, who was killed in a duel with Samuel P. 
Carson. As Captain Hutchins says : " He stood well in 
the class, and was better informed on many subject than 
most of the class." And as my genial friend, DuBrutz 
Cutlar, writes : " I was always astonished then, and 
always afterwards, at the quantity and variety of things he 
knew from books." Dr. Lewis says : " When a question 
was under discussion in the class-room, it was wonderful 
to see how much he would get out of it by short, pithy 
suggestions." Dr. Lewis, too, exposes one of his tricks, 
occasionally practiced in our day on other professors. 
This was, when the lesson in chemistry abounded in par 
ticularly hard and unfamiliar compounds, to divert good 
Dr. Mitchell from the dreaded questionings by leading him 
into a relation of his personal experiences as a geologist 
on Mt. Mitchell and elsewhere in Western Carolina. 
" Votes of thanks were frequently given Vance for tiding 
us all safely over the tough chapters." 

Prof. Alexander Mclver, ex-State Superintendent of 
Public Instruction, who was one of the best scholars in the 
University, a very able and well-read man, was in the same 
society and the same fraternity with Vance, and he writes 
me emphatically, in substance, that he had not only a Sur 
prising amount of general culture, but also good habits 
and high, honorable views on all subjects. 

He had the knack in intercourse with his fellows of never 
making the answer expected of him. No matter what 
subject was mentioned his reply was original and peculiar, 



24 LIFE OF VANCE. 

sometimes only surprising, more often humorous, occasion 
ally very witty. I illustrate this with one or two examples, 
which I recall, which, lacking the merry twinkle of his eye 
and his inimitable manners, but feebly illustrate Vance, as 
a student. 

The students were required to join either the Dialectic 
or the Philanthropic or, as they were commonly called, the 
Di. or the Phi. Society. In his day there was no recognized 
rule that confined the western students to the former and 
the eastern to the latter. Some one asked, u Vance : won t 
you join the Phi-lanthropic Society?" "Fie," said he, 
"I ll die first!" a pun, sufficiently obvious but which 
brought its first utterer Chapel Hill-wide fame. 

Here is a specimen of his totally unconventional manner. 
Richard Lewis, " a grave and reverend senior," concluded 
to pay him a formal visit at his room. Being a stranger he 
knocked at the door. " Come in," shouted the host. The 
visitor opened the door and there was Vance, tilted back in 
a chair, split-bottomed of course, with feet on the window- 
sill, nor did he change his posture. " My name is Lewis," 
said the visitor. " Mine s Vance ; take a seat," was the 
reply, as the sitter stretched back over his shoulder a hand 
of mountainous size. Seeing an unoccupied pipe by a 
closed box, Lewis remarked, "Is this tobacco or what?" 
Puffing a wreath of smoke from his lips the host said, " It s 
what. Help yourself ? " This sounds trivial in the telling, 
but a young man can see how quickly after such beginning 
formal acquaintance ripened into jovial friendship, which 
in this, as in most instances, was never severed. 

While Vance was in the University a temperance lecturer 
of great power, Philip S. White, started a total abstinence 
society, which was quite numerously joined. One morning 
before breakfast a knot of students gathered around the 
well, which stands in the quadrangle, and contains water 
so pure and cool that our alumni ever long for it as they 
journey through life. Lewis said: "Vance, why are those 



LIFE OF VANCE. 25 

boys gathered about the well ?" " Why, they are members 
of Philip S. White s Temperance Society. Tom Blank got 
on a spree last night Governor Swain was in hot pursuit 
of him. As he ran by the well he threw his tickler in and 
broke it on the rocks of the curbing. Those temperance 
fellows have been drinking water since day-break to get a 
share of that half pint of whiskey." 

W T hen Vance s class was ready to stand their examina 
tion for law license his cousin, Augustus S. Merrimon, 
came to Chapel Hill on his way to Raleigh with the same 
object. He had been reading without a teacher, a danger 
ous plan, as the reader is almost sure to think erroneously 
that because he understands the text he knows it well 
enough to explain it to another. Merrimon had a strong 
brain, which enabled him to reach the dignities of United 
States Senator and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of 
North Carolina. But on consenting to undergo an exami 
nation under Mr. Phillips, it was ascertained, as expected, 
that his knowledge of Blackstone and other works was not 
sufficiently clear and accurate, so as to enable him to undergo 
the ordeal of vigorous and minute questioning as success 
fully as those who had the advantage of a year s training. 
His distress was, evident, and Vance whispered to his 
neighbor : " He came in a merry mon. He goes out a 
sorry mon." It is proper to add that none the less he passed 
the Court, and entered without delay on a successful 
career. In the course of time he beat and then was beaten 
by Vance for the United States Senate. 

Vance s versatility was shown strikingly in a mock trial 
of the torturing animal called " the College Bore," a being 
who has no love of books, and passes most of his time in 
impeding the progress of others by untimely visits and in 
ane conversation or senseless boisterousness. The youth 
who bore this unhonored title in 1852 was indicted before 
a moot court for the crime of being a common nuisance. 
Bernard Gretter, who had extraordinary talents, was 



26 LIFE OF VANCE. 

selected to conduct the prosecution and Vance the defence. 
Both distinguished themselves by really able speeches. 
That of the latter not only abounded in wit and humorous 
illustrations, but earnestly pressed cogent reasons in sup 
port of the plea of "not guilty." He pursued in the main 
the line of argument used by the eloquent S. S. Pren- 
tiss in his celebrated defence of the rapacious bed-bug ; 
that the bore, like the bed-bug, was walking in the path 
which the God of Nature marked out for him, and there 
fore, in a way inexplicable to us, was serving his Creator. 
He urged that the bore was designed to aid in fitting his 
fellow-men for heaven by teaching them patience and for 
titude under affliction. Moreover, he insisted that they, 
after experiencing the tortures of the company of the ac 
cused, could better bear the trials which all must endure 
in this life. Of course he pressed the point that this ter 
rible foe of society was non compos mentis, and therefore 
on the plea of idiocy not guilty. 

I forgot what the decision of the jury was, but certainly 
the reputation of the speakers was much enhanced by this 
display of forensic oratory. Gretter was not inferior to 
Vance in genius but lacked his ambition, his power of 
winning popular favor, and his steady attention to duty. 

In the Dialectic Society Vance found an excellent field 
for the cultivation of his powers of oratory and extempore 
speaking. In it were found generally a majority of the 
students. It was managed in his day with a decorum, a 
respect for rules of order, and a strictness of discipline, 
which I have not seen equalled in any other deliberative 
body. The branches of Congress and of the State General 
Assembly are not comparable to it in this regard. While 
of course many weak speeches were made by the members, 
there were always debaters who studied the questions with 
care, and whose efforts were of a high order. 

Vance cultivated this field with success. In readiness, 
tact, wit, aptness of illustration, and occasional flashes of 



LIFE OF VANCE. 2J 

eloquence ; he had no superiors, nor was he deficient in 
knowledge of the subject under debate. Notwithstanding 
all his rollicksome gaiety, he was really a hard student. 
He possessed great power of concentrating all his faculties 
at will, and was accustomed to turn from his gay com 
panions and make rapid progress by desperate exertions. 
His memory was strong and accurate, and his perfect self- 
command and easy flow of words, made him a formidable 
adversary of the ablest debater in the University. 

Sometimes he gave free play to his powers of jocoseness 
and ridicule. On one occasion especially he indulgd for 
half an hour in such wealth of humor as to completely 
upset the gravity and deeorum of the members of the body, 
and, as a fine was levied for every offence of audible laugh 
ter, he added largely to the society treasury, while himself 
not transgressing the law. I have examined the books of 
the treasurer and find that his fines did not exceed twenty 
cents per month, which, all old students will admit, shows 
a regularity of attention to duty and orderly conduct quite 
remarkable. 

One of his most striking characteristics was absolute 
freedom from timidity of any kind. He was at his ease 
anywhere and in any company. He was never known to 
show the least evidence of fear or abashment. Stage-fright 
was unknown to him. When initiated into the bogus 
fraternity called by the name of the Mystic Circle, he 
added immensely to the delights of the occasion by his 
laughable answers to all the questions propounded by the 
dread tribunal, whereas the amusement is usually caused 
by the awkwardness and confusion of the victims. And 
yet he did not display any effrontery of the brazen kind. 
He had a degree of self-confidence rare among students, 
but it arose from a proper estimate of his powers. He was 
never accused of self-conceit or presumption, or what is 
well expressed in the slang word, cheekiness. 

While at the University Vance had his sleeping room on 



28 UFE OF VANCE. 

Governor Swain s lot, and won his especial confidence, 
admiration and affection. 

When, at the instance of the Trustees and Faculty, he 
delivered at the commencement of 1878 an eloquent address 
in memoriam of the Governor s life and character, he said : 
" I had the honor and I consider it both an honor and a 
happy fortune to be on terms of confidential intimacy 
with him from my first entrance into the University until 
his death. We were in the utmost accord on all questions 
pertaining to Church and State, and during my subsequent 
career, especially in those troublous years of war, I con 
sulted him more frequently than any other man except 
Governor Graham. So affectionately was his interest in 
my welfare always manifested that many people supposed 
we were relatives, and I have frequently been asked if 
such were not the fact." This regard was repaid by life 
long love and veneration, and by the noble memoir from 
which I have given an extract. His affection for the 
University and gratitude for the good she had done him 
were likewise ever present with him. By the influence of 
the great offices to which he was elevated, and the hold he 
had on the hearts of the people, by his wise counsels and 
powerful advocacy, he proved himself always one of its 
most faithful and efficient children. 

It would not be candid in me not to admit that there 
were exceptions to the general rule of admiration of Vance. 
Owing to the example of President Swain, punning was 
fashionable at Chapel Hill, and his pupils naturally followed 
him, hand longo intervallo. While Vance was the author 
of some puns which were really witty, he necessarily, as all 
punsters are, was guilty of making some atrociously bad, 
mere plays upon words, often causing irritation by inter 
ruption of conversation upon grave subjects. His mind, 
too, was stored with anecdotes, derived from the thousands 
of people of all degrees of intelligence and education, whom 
he had met rough hunters among the mountains, horse 



UFE OF VANCE. 2Q 

drovers and hog drivers along the great French Broad Turn 
pike, lawyers and their clients in the Buncombe courts, 
fun-loving, ubiquitous, commercial drummers, delighting 
to tell the bright summer hotel clerk (Vance held this office 
for several months) their latest, most humorous, and occa 
sionally fuliginous yarns. 

His retentive memory never lost one of these stories, and 
he was always ready with or without notice to reproduce 
them. Of course there were some who concluded errone 
ously that a chronic pun-maker and habitual story-teller, 
one whom they had never seen in a serious mood, must lack 
the essential elements of a great man. 

Then again, in the exuberance of his humor he was 
guilty of what his mature judgment disapproved, making 
jocular use of texts of Scripture. This was often extremely 
pleasant and harmless, but at other times so irreverent as 
to shock men of a more serious temperament. Hence they 
regarded him as wanting a religious nature. 

But these conclusions were wrong. Vance read good 
books, and mastered them too. And underlying his super 
ficial jollity and frivolity was a stratum of high resolve 
and deep respect for the True, the Beautiful and the Good. 

I use Mr. Slade s words in describing his departure from 
Chapel Hill, after he had been examined by the Supreme 
Court at Raleigh, and had obtained license to enter on the 
practice of the law. Says he : " My last sight of him 
produced a humorous sense of pleasure that has clung to 
my memory through all the grand heroic days, that have 
passed since then. He told us good-bye in front of Miss 
Nancy s hotel, and mounted the stage coach going west, 
We waved our hands to him, and as he put his foot upon 
the front wheel to take his seat with the driver, he made an 
effort at a pun, a play upon the wheel, which was so badly 
put together that we were unable to reconstruct it. Some 
of us told him to persevere, he would succeed after awhile. 
Nothing daunted he shot another at us, and left us in 



30 UFE OF VANCE. 

pleasant remembrance of him. We never met afterwards 
so as to speak together, though we passed each other on the 
field in Virginia." 

Thus, with a jest on his lips hiding the tears in his eyes, 
the stout-hearted young giant journeys to his mountain 
home. God speed him in safety through the dangers of 
life ! Little conscious is he of the sloughs and lions and 
treacherous Apollyons in the way, but with a body, healthy 
and strong, manners genial, and a kindly heart, a brain 
athletic and versatile, with rare p6w r er of winning friends, 
with a bounteous gift of persuasive speech, with a spirit 
aspiring and ever self-reliant, with integrity incorruptible, 
and dauntless pluck, the crown of success awaits him. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 31 



CHAPTER IV. 

MARRIAGE, PUBLIC LIFE BEGUN. BY GEN. R. B. VANCE. 

Marriage of Z. B. Vance His Children His Public Life Begun Is 
Solicitor of Buncombe County Fist Fight Duel Narrowly 
Avoided Candidate for the Legislature Joint Canvass and Great 
Triumph Is Defeated for the State Senate Joint Canvass for 
Congress With Avery Is Elected Tom Corwin, of Ohio, Becomes 
His Friend and Calls to See Him in Prison Speech in Knoxville 
Humorous Application of Scripture Second Race for Congress 
Joint Canvass With Coleman Parable of the Fig Tree. 

HBOUT this time, say August 3d, 1853, Zebulon B. 
Vance was married to Miss Harriette Newell Espy, 
at the residence of Col. Chas. McDowell, at Quaker 
Meadows, Burke County. She was a woman of fine mind 
and noted for her ardent piety and excellent qualities. 

Mrs. Vance was born in Salisbury, N. C., July nth, 
1832 ; united with the Presbyterian Church in her six 
teenth year. 

Z. B. Vance, shortly after being licensed to practice law, 
became a candidate for Solicitor of the Court of Pleas and 
Quarter Sessions. He was elected by the magistrates of 
the county of Buncombe. His competitor was A. S. Mer- 
rimon, afterwards United States Senator and finally Chief 
Justice of North Carolina. He was truly a distinguished 
and noble man, not only as United States Senator and 
Chief Justice, but in all the walks of life. 

Not long after Zeb was elected Solictor of Buncombe he 
had an encounter with a young lawyer at the door of the 
Court room, within thirty feet of where Squires Blackstock, 
Patton and Burgwin were holding Court. A shout was 
heard just outside the Court room, and the venerable 
Justices ran out to see what was the matter. What they 
saw was truly laugh-provoking. The belligerents were 



32 LIFE OF VANCE. 

standing about three feet apart, and Zeb was holding in his 
hand a wisp of his opponent s hair, jerked out in the fight. 
Squire Blackstock came out, without his hat, and after 
gazing sternly at the fighters, he commanded the peace, 
and in a little while order was restored, but the belliger 
ents did not at once return to the Court room. A duel 
was feared as a result of the fisticuff and hair-pulling. 
Friends interposed to make up the trouble and to prevent 
serious consequences. Vance was seen first, and readily 
agreed to entertain terms of settlement. The other man 
was found in his room washing off the blood, and very 
angry, exhibiting a blood-shot eye received in the encoun 
ter, and saying he could not look upon any man as a 
gentleman who would gouge in a fight. This was reported 
to Vance as a serious difficulty in the way of an adjustment, 
when Vance explained that the gouging was not inten 
tional, but that in grappling his antagonist to draw him 
close and prevent blows, he unintentionally struck his long 
finger against the eye of his adversary. This explanation 
was satisfactory, and the difficulty was amicably adjusted. 
Vance went on with the practice of law until he was 
called upon to run for the Legislature. A highly respected 
gentleman, a good deal older than Vance, was his com 
petitor, who objected, among other points, to young Vance s 
age. The court room was crowded when this occurred. 
Zeb apologized for his youth, and declared that he would 
have cheerfully been born at an earlier date if it had been 
in his power ; that his father and mother gave him no 
chance whatever about the matter, and he humbly begged 
pardon, and said he would try and do better next time. 
The uproar in the court house was tremendous, so much so 
that his competitor got angry and said he liked to see a 
smart boy, but this one was entirely too smart. Then the 
boys yelled, whooped and cheered like mad men, and that 
day s work, beyond question, secured Zeb s election to the 
General Assembly. 




AGE ABOUT 28. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 33 

After Vance s return from Raleigh, and at the next 
election, he was a candidate for State Senator, and was 
opposed by Col. David Coleman, deceased. Coleman de 
feated Vance in that race, the Democratic party being 
stronger at the time, under the influence Gen. Thomas L,. 
Clingman, Vance being a Whig. 

In a short time Gen. Clingman was appointed by the 
Governor to the United States Senate, and Zeb, young as 
he was, became a candidate for Congress. The distin 
guished Waightstill W. Avery was Vance s opponent. They 
had a hard canvass, beginning at Murphy and ending at 
Wilkesboro. At many points in the campaign the Whigs 
were down in the mouth when they saw Zeb. He was so 
boyish in his appearance, with his long hair hanging down 
his back, that they despaired of him, especially so at Wilkes 
boro. But when they heard him the enthusiasm was 
almost boundless. Vance was elected by 3,700 majority. 

Among the life-long friends that young Vance made in 
Washington was the Hon. Tom Corwin, of Ohio. While 
Zebulon was a prisoner of war in the Old Capitol prison, 
in Washington city, who should step into the old prison 
to see him but Tom Corwin, of Ohio. After cordial greet 
ing on both sides, they sat down for a friendly chat, and 
Zeb regaled Governor Corwin with prison jokes and inci 
dents. Finally Tom said, somewhat seriously : " Zeb, 
what has been the matter with you down there in the South? 
I have not been able to catch the hang of it." " Nor I," 
said Zeb, "but I am likely to now." Tom said, with his 
face beaming with patriotic fun : " A man that can face 
extremities like this with cheerfulness, and be the life of 
the prison, cannot remain here if Tom Corwin can get him 
out." 

On Vance s return from his first Congress only part of 
a term, as Gen. Clingman was appointed United States 
Senator during the Congress .he was invited to Knoxville, 
Tenn., to speak at a great Whig mass-meeting. He ac- 



34 LIFE OF VANCE. 

cepted the invitation and carried the day. On a seat just 
before Vance was a distinguished and learned Presbyterian 
clergyman. He watched the long-haired boy with great 
attention. Something had been said in the newspapers 
about appropriating $100,000,000 for Buchanan to use in 
buying the Spanish officials and consequently the Island of 
Cuba. Vance arraigned Buchanan on the charge in a 
pretty severe manner, and declared that the Scriptural 
phrase, " Mene mene tekel upharsin," fitted the President. 
After quoting the famous text he paused, looked around on 
his audience and said : "I don t know whether a single 
one of my hearers knows the literal reading of that awful 
Scripture or not. It means," he said, " Jeems, Jeems, you 
stole that money." The large crowd roared with laughter, 
and the preacher, expecting to hear " thou art weighed in 
the balances and found wanting," was leaning forward in 
his chair, when he lost his balance and fell to the floor. 
It is not known whether the preacher accepted Vance s 
translation of the Hebrew or not. 

The young Congressman s next competitor was the Hon. 
David Coleman, who had until 1844 or thereabouts been a 
a midshipman in the United States Navy, but who had 
resigned and studied law at the University of North Caro 
lina. Coleman was remarkably brilliant and powerful in 
debate, always ready and fluent, and as brave as a lion on 
the field or in the forum, and it was no light task that 
Vance had before him to meet such an accomplished 
debater. Remember also, reader, that in those days it was 
characteristic of the stump orator to have 

" That stern joy which warriors feel 

In meeting foemen worthy of their steel." 

There was no skulking in those days. " Face to face 
and hilt to hilt " was the manner of the men in the politi 
cal arena of that period. There was no sliding behind a 
competitor and in secret trying to stab him in the back. 



36 LIFE OF VANCE. 

1812, the old veterans rallying to the defence of the capi 
tal of the nation, the peace that followed, and the easy 
times now in the country, to such an extent as to make 
some of our leaders feel authorized in advocating an act to 
use millions of dollars in corrupting Spanish officials in our 
favor so that we could get hold of Cuba. Then, in turn, 
he pictured the old soldier approaching the capitol on his 
crutches, with a petition in his hands, asking of Congress 
the pitiful sum of eight dollars a month with which to 
smooth his passage to the grave. Presently a young 
gentleman would appear at the door of the House of Rep 
resentatives and say to the weather beaten veteran : "Go 
away ; we have other use for our money." The effect of 
this effort will never be forgotten by those who heard it. 
Strong men wept throughout the court room, and the old 
men in the place became as little children when they 
remembered what the soldiers had done for our country 
and how little a return had been made them. The senti 
ment of Burns, the people s poet, fired the hearts and filled 
the eyes of the hearers. 

" The poor old soldier ne er despise 

Nor count him as a stranger; 
Remember he is his country s stay 

In the day and hour of danger." 

Towards the. close of the campaign Colonel Coleman, in 
his speech, quoted the parable of the barren fig tree, and 
applied it to Vance, saying he had been in Congress and 
that there was no fruit thereof to be seen, "and now," he 
shouted out, " fellow citizens, cut him down." The friends 
of Congressman Vance were low-spirited when Colonel 
Coleman closed. They could scarcely look up. Vance 
soon revived them into life and hope by his keen remarks, 
and turning to the Colonel, he said his Scripture quota 
tions were unfortunate. "The facts are," he said, "that 
the L,ord went into the garden with the gardener, and see 
ing no fruit on the fig tree, he said to the gardener, ( cut it 



UFE OF VANCE. 37 

down ; but the gardener answered, not so, Lord, but let 
it stand another year, and I will dig about it, etc., and 
then if it bears no fruit cut it down. Now gentlemen," said 
Zeb, " all things according to Scripture." He then ap 
plied the parable first to Avery, his first competitor, who 
had digged about him, and then to Coleman, his last com 
petitor, who was doing the other, and said : " If I then do 
not bear fruit, cut me down." It was enough. The 
answer was so complete and so sudden that such a 
shout had never been heard in the old court house as 
went up that day, and perhaps another such has not been 
heard there since. Vance defeated his eloquent opponent 
by 1,900 votes. 

Vance was at Traphill, Wilkes County, the day of the 
election, where he received a solid vote, and often after 
wards he spoke gratefully of the old Whigs who went up 
in procession and cast their votes for him that day. 

On his return to Buncombe, his native county, he passed 
through a gap of the mountain in Watauga, and overtook 
an old man driving an ox-cart. The old fellow was bare 
foot, and had one knit suspender to hold up his overalls, 
while a lock of stiff hair shot up through a hole in the 
crown of his hat. Vance said : " Hurrah for Coleman." 
The old man stopped his ox team and said : "If you will 
wait until I get to you I ll wear out the ground with you." 
Zeb had to hasten and explain, which he did to the satis 
faction of the staunch old Whig. 

And now comes something painful to remember. Some 
unpleasant words had passed between Vance and Coleman 
during the canvass. Coleman demanded an apology, 
which Vance refused to give. A challenge to fight a duel 
was the result, which was accepted by Vance, and the day 
and place agreed upon. To this writer it is not known 
who was the second of Coleman, but that of Vance was 
Samuel Brown, son of William J. Brown, of Buncombe 
County. A more gallant and noble man than Sammy 



38 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Brown could not be found. He practiced Zebulon in the 
dense woods near Arden, in Buncombe. Before the day 
arrived, and just before, one of the best men this section 
ever produced, Dr. James F. E. Hardy, succeeded in set 
tling the difficulty to the satisfaction of all concerned. 
The beloved Doctor has since passed to his rest, but his 
lovable and noble character remains as a legacy for the 
people, and in letters of imperishable beauty, exemplify 
and set forth the doctrine of the sermon on the mount, 
" blessed are the peace makers." 



UFE OF VANCE. 39 



CHAPTER V. 

LEGISLATIVE AND CONGRESSIONAL RECORD. 

In the Legislature of 1854 His Votes for Speaker and Other Officers 
Committees Assigned to His Associates and Acquaintances Mo 
tions and Resolutions Offered Bills Introduced Memorial from 
Citizens of Buncombe Offers an Amendment to Revenue Bill 
Not Favoring Free Trade Distinguished Men in Senate and 
House, Including His Subsequent Competitors for Congress and 
Governor Elected to Congress in 1858 His First Speech His 
Second Speech Tariff, Public Lands and Pensions to Soldiers of 
1812 In Thirty-Sixth Congress Memorable Contest for Speaker, 
Lasting Two Months Short Speeches Witty Remarks His 
Votes and Patriotic Sentiments Distinguished Men in House and 
Senate Exciting Debates Harper s Ferry John Brown s Raid 
Helper s Impending Crisis, Etc. Interesting Scenes Incidents 
and Anecdotes. 

HN the Legislature of 1854, being a Whig, Vance voted for 
Jas. S. Amis, of Granville, for Speaker, against Sam l 
P. Hill, of Caswell. The Democrats being in the majority, 
Hill was elected. He also voted for Dan l M. Barringer 
for United States Senator, against David S. Reid, to fill 
the unexpired term of W. P. Mangnm, deceased, and for 
Geo. E. Badger against Asa Biggs as successor to Badger. 

He also voted for R. P. Buxton against Robt. Strange 
for Solicitor of the Fayetteville District, and for Sam l 
J. Person for Judge of the Superior Court against W. B. 
Wright. Person was a Democrat, and probably the only 
candidate, as Wright received but five votes. Vance was 
on the following standing committees: Library, Educa 
tion and Private Bills. On the third day of the session he 
nominated John P. Wheat for Engrossing Clerk, but sub 
sequently withdrew him. 

On the 5th day of December he voted to emancipate 
Jere, a slave, of Mecklenburg county, upon a bill introduced 



40 LIFE OF VANCE. 

by W. R. Myers. On December 9th a motion was made 
that the Legislature adjourn on the 23d to meet the first 
Monday in November following. Vance offered an amend 
ment that when the Legislature adjourn it be to meet in 
Asheville on July ist. The motion failed to pass. On 
December I2th he introduced a bill to incorporate the 
Holstein Conference Female College at Asheville, which 
was duly passed. 

On December i6th Vance, from the committee to whom 
was referred a bill to distribute the common school fund 
among the several counties of the State according to the 
white population, made a minority report in favor of the 
bill. And on the same day he introduced a bill to incor 
porate the Asheville Mutual Insurance Company. On 
December i9th, from the select committee to whom was 
referred the invitation from the Magistrate of Police of the 
city of Wilmington, tendering the hospitalities of the citizens 
of that place during the Christmas holidays, Vance reported 
in favor of accepting the invitation, and accordingly a recess 
of the two Houses was taken from Friday, 22d, to Wednes 
day, 27th. 

On January i8th he presented a memorial from citizens 
of Buncombe to exempt certain persons from working on 
the Greenville plank road. And on January 27th he sub 
mitted an amendment to the revenue bill, which was rejected, 
however, and was certainly not in accordance with the 
maxims of free trade, as follows : That " all persons en 
gaged in traffic in ready-made clothing, not the manufac 
turer of this State, shall pay a tax of one per cent, on every 
hundred dollars of capital invested in such traffic." On 
February 5th he introduced a bill to authorize county and 
town subscriptions to the French Broad and Greenville 
Railroad. 

This Legislature contained many very able men. It is 
doubtful whether in this respect its superior can be found 
in the history of the State. Among its members who were 



LIFE OF VANCE. 41 

prominent at that time and afterward throughout the State 
were, in the Senate : Thos. S. Ashe, Joseph B. Cherry, Asa 
Biggs, Mason L,. Wiggins, Thos. D. McDowell, Warren 
Winslow, Curtis H. Brogden, Gaston H. Wilder, Wm. 
Eaton, Jr., Jno. W. Cunningham, W. A. Graham, Chas. S. 
Fisher, Anderson Mitchell, Jno. F. Hoke, Columbus Mills 
and David Coleman. In the House with Vance were : 
A. J. Dargan, Giles Mebane, P. H. Winston, Jr., Jesse G. 
Shepherd, Samuel P. Hill, Jas. H. Headen, Samuel F. 
Patterson, Jas, M. Leach, Jas. S. Amis, D. F. Caldwell, L. Q. 
Sharp, Samuel F. Phillips, Josiah Turner, Lott W. 
Humphrey, Geo. Badger Singletary, Walter L. Steele, 
Wm. M. Shipp, Jno. Gray Bynum, Thos. Settle, Jr., Wm. A. 
Jenkins, W. T. Dortch and Daniel M. Barringer. Among 
the Senators enumerated will be observed the name of 
Vance s second opponent for Congress, David Coleman ; 
and in the House, the name of Thos. Settle then, like 
Vance, making his first appearance in public life, and who 
with Vance, in 1876, made that notable campaign for 
Governor, which has gone into history as the battle of the 
giants. 

The Journals of the Legislature do not contain the 
speeches of the members, as the Congressional Record does, 
and if Vance made any sprightly and witty speeches and 
remarks, as he very probably did, they are unfortunately 
lost. 

He was elected to the House of Representative in 
August, 1858, to fill the unexpired term of Thos L. Cling- 
man in the Thirty-Fifth Congress, and also for the full 
term of the Thirty-Sixth Congress, and took his seat at the 
beginning of the second session of the Thirty-Fifth Con 
gress, on December yth, 1858. He was among the 
youngest members of Congress, if not the very youngest, 
being only twenty-eight years of age when elected. 

This was a comparatively quiet session, not much legis 
lation being considered except appropriation bills, and 



42 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Vance, being without experience, was an attentive listener, 
rather than a participator in debates. On January 26th, 
1859, ne ma de an adverse report from the Committee on 
Revolutionary Claims, and on February 3d, there being 
great confusion in the House, many members on their feet, 
talking and asking questions at the same time, he ad 
dressed the Speaker and said: "I want to know whether 
this is debate or cross-questioning?" 

On February 4th he offered an amendment to the ap 
propriation bill, to strike out "for miscellaneous items, 
$40,000," and made a speech, his first in Congress, in favor 
of his motion, as follows : 

I should like to know what is to enlarge the borders of the Thirty- 
Sixth Congress above the borders of the present Congress. As a 
member of the present Congress, I do not feel inclined to yield the 
point that my successor, whoever he may be, will be 25 per cent, a 
greater man than I am myself. I do not think that he is entitled to 
$10,000 more for miscellaneous items than I am myself, and I am in 
favor, therefore, of striking out this clause. This whole bill reminds 
me very much of the bills I have seen of fast young men at fashion 
able hotels : For two days board, $5 ; sundries, $50. [Laughter.] It 
is like a comet, a very small body and an exceedingly great tail, flam 
ing over half the heavens. But this miscellaneous item, which I 
propose to strike out, is not exactly like the tail of a comet, because 
philosophers say that with a good telescope you can see through the 
tail of a comet. What glasses will enable us to see through this mis 
cellaneous item ? [Laughter.] I should like to know what it is for, 
what it is intended for, and why we are to increase it $10,000 beyond 
last year ? 

On February yth Vance addressed the Committee of the 
Whole House on Tariff, Public L,ands and Pensions of 
Soldiers of 1812, as follows: 

MR. CHAIRMAN : The condition of the country is a rather singu 
lar one at this time. The statesman of enlarged views might now 
behold many important events in the indications by which we are 
surrounded, could he but read them aright. The late fury of the 
political heavens having spent itself in the fierce and bitter contests 
which raged in these halls, we have now a comparative quiet. But 
whether the winds merely pause to gather more wrath, whether it is 
merely a truce to enable the combatants to recruit and bury their 



LIFE OF VANCE. 43 

dead, we cannot tell. It may be that the now tranquil skies do but 

portend 

"A greater wreck, a deeper fall ; 

A shock to one, a thunderbolt to all." 

But let us hope not. I, for one, am determined to interpret the 
omens for good. I think they are full of hope and peace and promise 
for the Republic. I hope, sir, that the lull is not a treacherous still 
ness, heralding the deadly simoon, but it is Halcyon herself who 
comes to brood upon the dark and restless deep. Eight weeks of this 
session have gone by ; grave and important questions have been dis 
cussed and passed upon ; and yet harmony and good feeling have 
prevailed. Zeal there has been, but without fanaticism ; warmth and 
spirit, but without bitterness and rancor. Though the bush has been 
beaten from Maine to California, from the Lakes to the Gulf, only the 
gentleman from Maine (Mr. Washburn) has been able to start a negro ; 
and though the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Giddings) did howl upon 
the trail, the chase was so distant, and the scent lay so cold, that he 
soon called off, and the Committee was not frightened from its pro 
priety. 

It behooves the Representatives of the people to take advantage 
of this hopeful state of affairs, and to turn their earnest attention to 
the practical every-day matters of the nation. Too long, already, has 
the country suffered from this all-absorbing excitement, which has so 
much hindered practical legislation. Our disordered finances, our 
depressed trade, our empty Treasury, our confused foreign policy, our 
Secretary calling, like the daughter of the horse-leech, " Give, give ;" 
all show this melancholy but instructive fact. The great question of 
a tariff, the principal source of our national revenue ; the public 
lands ; and, inseparable from these, the growing expenditures of the 
government greatly need, nay, must have, our attention. It is time, 
sir, we were considering the ways and means to do something for the 
people that vast and ever striving mass whose servants and Repre 
sentatives we are ; by whose intelligent industry and unceasing toil, 
by whose early rising, and late lying down, this government receives 
its protection and its bread, its glory and its prosperity. 

When we reflect, sir, that the expense of administering this gov 
ernment has reached a point far exceeding the receipts of the public 
Treasury, we must look around for some means cf making both ends 
meet. I presume there are few members of this committee who desire 
to see the government embark in a system of borrowing money, ex 
cept in extraordinary cases of emergency, and thus to lay the 
foundations of a great national debt like that of Great Britain, which 
is to go on growing and increasing until it gets forever beyond the 
hopes of ultimate payment. The soundest policy of national finan 
ciers has been to borrow money only in case of war, or some such 
urgent necessity, to be repaid during the long years of peace and 
prosperity which follow these calamities. In times of general tran- 



44 LIFE OF VANCE. 

quility it has always been considered best to draw upon the sources of 
the nation s income sufficiently to meet our current expenses without 
borrowing, no odds how much the amount might be. We are not 
now doing this ; instead of living like a frugal housekeeper, on the 
interest of our money, we are devouring the principal. During the 
last fiscal year, in the midst of profound peace, this government has 
issued Treasury notes and bonds to the amount of $35,000,000 beyond 
the receipts of the Treasury, and a similar issue may soon be called 
for unless the deficiency is levied on some source of the revenue. 
The tariff levied on importations is the principal source ; the next 
largest is the public lands. Let us consider the former. 

Shall it be raised to a revenue standard or not? That it is not 
now up to this point is, I take it for granted the opinion of many 
gentlemen to the contrary notwithstanding sufficiently obvious from 
the plain fact that we are now living on borrowed money. This fact, 
for practical purposes, is worth all the theories that gentlemen can 
put forth in regard to the present rates. Sir, I am not philosophical 
on this subject ; I have not made the laws which govern the trade and 
commerce of the world my study ; I have not hunted up the statistics, 
nor counted with care the enormous columns of figures which contain 
our commercial transactions. I am free to confess it. Nor do I 
believe that I am much the worse for this reason. But crude and 
unelaborated as my opinions may be, I will venture to lay it down as 
an undisputed fact, that, as we are in debt and spending more than 
our income, and as our income is derived principally from the tariff, 
we have to do one of three things ; either raise that income, lower our 
expenses, or walk into the insolvent court and file our schedule. I do 
not think there is, or ever was, a political economist on earth who 
could deny these propositions. It is a question, sir, entirely beyond 
financial theories and abstractions. 

The doctrine, sir, of a tariff for protection has been pretty gen 
erally abandoned in the section from which I come ; and it may not be 
amiss, perhaps, to say here that one great cause of that doctrine being 
abandoned by my constituents, who once held it, was that those very 
men whose interests and institutions, from a spirit of national pride, 
we were upholding and protecting, became in time the deadliest 
enemies to our institutions and to our interests. And it must be re 
membered, too, that at the time the doctrine of a protective tariff 
prevailed among my constituents our national expenditures scarcely 
exceeded twenty million dollars per annum ; and therefore the inci 
dental protection afforded amounted to scarcely anything, and made 
the necessity for protection obvious. But now that we have to raise 
from eighty to one hundred million dollars per annum, principally by 
duties on importations, the incidental protection afforded becomes so 
large as to render direct protection both uncalled for and unjust. 

I am, therefore, sir, like those I represent, opposed to a tariff for 



LIFE OF VANCE. 45 

protection, both for that reason, and also because it is to the interest 
of my section. I place it upon the ground of self-interest 
frankly, because I do not believe in the validity of the general rules 
and deductions which gentlemen lay down so fluently. To assert that 
the only true policy of a nation is free trade, is only less absurd than 
to assert that the nation should extend protection, universally, to all 
the manufactures within its borders. Trade and manufacture are, I 
take it, governed and affected like all other human transactions by the 
thousand and one accidents and adventitious circumstances to which 
nations, as well as individuals, are subjected. What Adam Smith and 
later British politicians may say, in general terms, would have little 
more application to our condition, than would the maps and profiles 
of Professor Bache s survey applied to the angles and indentations of 
the British Coast. Even in England, covering not more territory than 
the State which I represent, the public sentiment was never a unit on 
the tariff question ; the manufacturer wanting it laid heavily upon 
articles similar to those in which he dealt, and free trade as to bread- 
stuffs ; while the agriculturist contended for precisely the reverse. 
What French economists may say can have still less bearing on our 
affairs, as there is a still greater dissimilarity in our condition and in 
stitutions. 

How, then, can we lay down a rule for the regulation of a tariff 
which shall be general in its operation for the best for a country like 
ours, stretching, as it does, through all the degrees of an entire zone ; 
with many thousand miles of coast ; with every variety of soil, climate 
and production, and containing within its borders artisans, manufac 
turers and laborers of every form, fashion and profession under the 
heavens ? There is, indeed, one general rule, which, though diverse 
in its operation, is yet the same in its applicability the world over 
the universal law of self-interest. And despite the ingenious theories 
of politicians, as to an enlightened public opinion having settled it in 
this way or that, I will venture to say there is not a civilized nation or 
community now on earth where the manufacturing interest is domi 
nant, that does not seek protection for its work-shops at the expense 
of its fields and vice versa. This, sir, is another reason why I am op 
posed to a tariff for protection that it would build up Northern manu 
factures at the expense of Southern agriculturists. We need no pro 
tection for that which we raise for market, and that which we have to 
buy we want the free markets of the world to choose from. 

But, be this as it may, we must have a revenue tariff or resort to 
direct taxation, which I am not prepared to do. In putting up the 
rates, then, to that standard, it strikes me that we should endeavor, 
not to protect any man or set of men, but to protect the whole body of 
the people from heavy or unequal taxation for laying a tariff is, to 
some extent, laying a tax, though not an equal tax, as many of the 
States are now doing. The same principle ought to govern us. The 



46 LIFE OF VANCE. 

cardinal doctrine of " the greatest good to the greatest number " ought 
to be our guide in laying these burdens upon the people. The same 
care to make them bear lightly as possible on the poor, yet without 
being unjust to the rich, which has ever been the idea of a perfect tax 
bill, should be observed. Whilst I do not hold that the interests of 
the manufacturer and the consumer are necessarily and altogether an 
tagonistic, yet to some extent they certainly are. If, therefore, that 
class of our citizens which produces the raw material of commerce, 
and consumes the manufactured article, is the larger and more 
extended interest of the country, and it most assuredly is ; if it numeri 
cally and substantially predominates in fact, over the manufacturing 
interests, then the genius of our institutions plainly demands that the 
predominance should be felt in the legislation of the country. I am 
not for sacrificing a smaller interest for the sake of a greater, in so 
many words, but I believe that all commercial enterprise should be, 
in a large degree, self-sustaining, and I cannot regard the operations 
of any institutions as healthful and vigorous which flourishes alone by 
statutory enactments. 

But a tariff for revenue I am in favor of. It is a necessity at this 
time, and not an open question. If, in putting up the rates to meet 
this necessity, any protection should be incidentally afforded to the 
manufacturing interest, I can see nothing wrong in it. Indeed, if the 
rates are fairly imposed, without making a special discrimination 
against all the manufactories of the nation, I cannot see how it is to 
be avoided, if it were ever so sinful. We certainly should not be so 
illiberal as to refuse to them that which cannot hurt us, and which 
may help them. I certainly am not so hostile to my own country, or 
to any portion of it, as to desire to transfer what little protection is 
incidentally afforded by a fairly constituted revenue tariff from our 
own manufactures to those of the British or the French, when my own 
people could not in the least benefit thereby. 

As to the manner of levying these duties, I am constrained to say 
that I agree with the President. I believe that the method recom 
mended by him in his late message is the best, the simplest, and in 
most cases the fairest, at once for the merchant, the consumer and 
the government. A specific duty on any given article is a steady 
source of revenue ; it is certain; it cannot be avoided or circumscribed; 
and if any protection arises from it, it is a home protection and not a 
foreign one. It also puts to rest the difficulty as to home and foreign 
valuations, which always arises under the ad valorem system. That 
some protection will be afforded, is inevitable, if the duties go up. Mr. 
Secretary Cobb says "himself that he does not expect to see a tariff 
" framed on rigid revenue principles," and both the President and Mr. 
Cobb seem to agree that the duties must go up, or we must borrow 
more money, which is not, they say, desirable. Indeed, the difference 
would be just the interest on the sum total borrowed in favor of in- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 47 

creased duties. I must agree with both in this respect and think it 
better to bring up the tariff at once to a revenue standard and be done 
with it, than to keep on glorifying free trade in the face of the facts 
and the figures; for, although we are told to wait a little longer, to 
wait until the country has recovered from the great financial crisis 
which it has so recently undergone, I regard delay as the more dan 
gerous course. How much indeed, the present low duties have had to 
do in producing this very crisis, is in my opinion, a question open to 
debate, to say the least of it. My own notion is, that California gold, 
for which we are not indebted to any kind of tariff, has alone kept us 
from calamities compared with which our recent troubles were small 
and insignificant. 

But, although there may be a difference honestly entertained, 
among gentlemen, as to the best manner of regulating the tariff, it 
seems to me, sir, that there can be but one opinion in regard to the 
public lands that other great source of our revenue. I am one of 
those who believe, with General Jackson, that these lands ought not 
to be made a source of revenue at all. I have a still stronger reason for 
disbelieving in the policy of keeping them, both as a source of revenue 
and as a corruption fund to control the politics of this country. I 
have heretofore acted upon the policy of distributing these lands 
among the several States of the Union, or their proceeds in order to 
enable them to erect public works, establish free schools, and to bear 
the burdens of general improvement, within their respective borders. 
I believe, if that policy had been adopted at the time it was first 
broached, that the wealth and prosperity of every State in the Union 
would have been materially enhanced, and the country saved from 
much wrangling and bitterness, from many monstrous frauds and 
gigantic swindles. 

But this policy was withstood by the Democratic party, which at 
a very early period, took ground against distribution, and declared 
that these grounds ought to be held as a source of revenue, the pro 
ceeds poured into the public Treasury, and applied to defraying the 
public expenses, and would thus best inure to the use and benefit of 
the people. That party prevailed ; and although under that disposi 
tion of the public lands, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, which 
ceded their lands to the government, until the lands thus ceded were 
all sold, continued, in reality, to pay five times more than their pro 
portionate share of all the public taxes ;_ yet the public was every where 
met with praises of the justice and equality, as well as economy, of 
the system. From that time down to the last convention, which 
assembled in Cincinnati in 1856, every neighborhood, county, district, 
State and national convention, so far as my recollection now extends, 
pledged the party, in the face of the nation, to oppose the distribution 
of these public lands, whether among States, corporations or individ 
uals, and saying that they ought to be applied to the use of the general 



48 LIFE OF VANCE. 

government) to relieve the people of taxation, and for no other pur 
pose whatever. 

Nay, sir, the favorite term of expression was, that " the proceeds 
of these lands ought to be sacredly applied " to these purposes, thus 
giving a kind of religious sanction to the sincerity of the promise. 
When the advocates of distribution, defeated in so many struggles, 
had come almost to despair of obtaining their object, I, for one, felt 
that we were well consoled by being able to fall back upon the oft- 
repeated promises. I was cheered by the thought, that if we could 
not get a fair and equal distribution, we knew at least that the proceeds 
of the land sale were well disposed of, that they were " sacredly ap 
plied " to the general charge and expenditure. But, sir, even that 
consolation is taken away from me, and the actual reality stares us in 
the face. 

During the last session of Congress, acting in obedience to a resolu 
tion, the Secretary of the Interior transmitted a report in brief to the 
House setting forth the number of acres disposed of, and for what 
purpose, since the inauguration of the present system. By that report 
it appears (I quote from memory) that about one hundred and twenty- 
nine million acres have been sold and the proceeds applied, (whether 
sacredly or not we cannot now tell) to the public expenses ; whilst, 
during the same period, there have been " sacredly " given away and 
squandered about two hundred and ten million acres ! And this ex 
clusive of military grants amounting to some forty-four millions ! 
Some millions are given to build the magnificent railroad system of 
Illinois, which cannot be fairly construed to come under the head of 
" general charge and expenditure ;" some millions more are handed 
over to Minnesota, to Iowa, to Wisconsin and other Northwestern 
States for railroads, schools, public buildings and so on. What con 
struction other gentlemen may put on this I am unable to say ; but, 
in my opinion, the giving away of the common property to free 
States, to support those public burdens, which my constituents have 
to pay out of their own pockets, is neither a part of the expenses of the 
general government proper, nor is the object very sacred. To avoid 
tediousness I shall not enumerate the various States which shared this 
public spoil, both North and South, or recite the various grants so 
sacredly donated to corporations and companies. They will all be 
found grouped over the sum total of two hundred and ten millions in 
the report referred to. 

Is there any prospect of the evil being stopped ? Why, sir, I was 
perfectly astounded to learn the number of bills now before the House 
for giving away lands*. I sat in my place in this hall, and heard the 
other day bills enough introduced to cover, as I thought, all the lands 
on the North American continent. Many of them seemed to me to 
have reference to the prospective annexation of all the nations, 
kindreds, tongues and tribes, from the open Polar Sea, beyond the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 49 

regions of eternal ice, to the Isthmus of Darien. There seems to pre 
vail, in certain sections, a notion that our "manifest destiny" is to 
conquer territory, and then give it away in lots and quantities to suit 
the convenience of applicants. Why, sir, no Spanish monarch ever 
gave away realms and barbarian empires, which were not yet his to 
give, with so lavish a hand as we display in granting away annually 
millions upon millions of acres of the noblest land on earth, of which 
it is promised that the price of every acre shall be sacredly applied to 
a far different object. So wild has the infatuation grown, that, not 
satisfied with the splendid operations of States, corporations and in 
dividuals, the nation has actually conceived the idea of swindling 
itself out of two hundred million acres to build a Pacific railroad. 
What an age we live in ! But the brightest, most magnificent idea of 
all yet conceived for getting rid of these lands, is the bill which 
lately passed this House of the honorable gentleman from Pennsyl 
vania, which will give at least one hundred million acres to whoever 
will go and take it. No odds who it is ; the invitation is general to all 
the -world. " Walk up, gentlemen, and help yourselves." 

Now, sir, leaving entirely out of sight, the fact, that this disposi 
tion of the public property is a rank and gross outrage upon the rights 
of the old States, and a palpable violation of the spirit of the deeds of 
cession, is it not a reckless and ruinous waste of the public revenues ? 
Is it not a strange way of redeeming a promise so " sacredly " made. 
What wonder, sir, that the tariff has to go up, when this great and un 
failing source of public wealth is thus lavishly thrown away ? If this 
fund is no longer to go into the public Treasury to relieve the people 
from the burdens of a high tariff , why, then, in common justice and 
common honesty, let us all, the old and new States, take share and 
share alike. I have long been a distributionist, because I thought 
justice and equality demanded it ; but if I could only see these promises 
faithfully carried out, if I can only see this vast sum honestly applied 
to defraying the general charge and expenditures of a common govern 
ment, I would agree to ask nothing more. I call on gentlemen to stop 
this wild raid after the public lands. I will gladly stand with any 
party to effect this object. 

It is a little strange that every State in the Union can participate in 
these land grants save and except alone those States which were the 
original proprietors. The ordinary statute of distributions is entirely 
reversed, and the furthest of kin, instead of the nearest, seem to be 
best entitled to this estate. There is great anxiety manifested with 
the admission of every new State, to put it on an equality with the other 
States, by princely donations of the public property ; but it never 
seems to occcur to gentlemen that there is no equality in the case so 
long as one-half of the States get nothing at all. 

What do you call equality, and how do you bring it about ? Do 
you call it equality when one party gets all and the other gets nothing? 



5 LIFE OF VANCE. 

And do you produce this equality by loading one with favors and 
stripping the other bare ? Nay, sir, worse still is done. The elder 
sisters of this great family of States bring their advancements into 
hotch-pot, and the law not only gives the younger sisters the principal 
estate, but the advancements also, leaving the elder sisters without 
inheritance in the common property. Truly, "from him that hath 
not shall be taken away even that which he hath." And although the 
doctrine has been strenuously maintained that it was unconstitutional 
for the general government to erect improvements not of a national 
character in the respective States, the Secretary of the Interior shows 
us that four thousand six hundred and forty-nine and one-half miles 
of railroad have been built, or provided for, by the Thirty-Fourth 
Congress alone. How many schools have been established, and 
how many public buildings have been erected by Congress 
in this way, the report does not show. It would take up all my 
allotted time to show one-half of the donations to the new States, and 
for what purposes ; therefore I will forbear. Suffice it to say, that 
scarcely a single grant is not in direct contravention of this doctrine, 
whether right or wrong. And before I close this subject, I may be 
permitted to remark upon the strangeness of the fact, that no land 
bill has passed this Congress, and become a law, which made provision 
for an equal division among all the States. The faintest shadow of 
justice and equality in a land bill is sufficient to "dam it to everlasting 
fame." Bennett s land bill could not get through, neither could the 
agricultural college bill of the gentleman from Vermont, (Mr. Morrill); 
and though the lunatic asylum bill got through Congress, it met its 
quietus on the ground of unconstitutionality, at the hands of a Presi 
dent who signed bills giving away lands enough to build four thousand 
six hundred and forty-nine miles of railroad and many million acres 
besides for works of a similar nature ! 

But, sir, we are continually told that it becomes no man to talk 
about a waste of the public revenues, or to recommend economy who 
voted for the old soldiers bill ; that that was a measure of such reckless 
and dangerous extravagance, as to completely shut the mouths of all 
who are anxious to promote a reform in our alarming expenditures. 
I am glad to hear that word economy coming from such gentlemen. I 
am delighted to know, sir, that Saul is once more among the prophets, 
though he come even " in such questionable shape " as a reformer ; 
for if there ever was a time in the history of the government, when 
retrenchment and reform were needed, now is that time. Put in the 
knife, sir, by all means. Let it be sharp and keen, and I will help and 
hold and cry, "Lay on, McDuff ! " and well done, while the bright 
blade flashes right and left, reddening as it goes, among the foul ulcers 
of the body politic till the last one is removed. 

But I do not wish to begin to economize in the wrong place. I do 
not wish, sir, to let the first stroke fall on the best, the noblest, the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 51 

most useful part of the whole nation, the gallant soldiers of the War 
of 1812. What would be thought, sir, of the man who would begin to 
reform his household expenses, by giving a half feed to his horse, his 
ox, and his plowman ? Instead of saving money, sir, he would dry 
up the source of his wealth entirely ; for in a short time his plowman 
and his horse would be as weak as a politician s promises, as feeble as 
a modern platform. Such a man would hardly be termed a bad 
economist ; he would be called a fool and would deserve the appella 
tion. He should commence by cutting off all the superfluous parts of 
his establishment first, so there might be no diminution in the com 
forts of those who labored. So, sir, we should begin in the national 
household, to lop off the superfluous excrescences that uselessly feed 
on the Treasury. We might profitably decapitate some thousands of 
that class of hungry hangers-on, who swarm in the land with the 
numbers and rapacity of the Egyptian locust, " devouring every green 
thing." I contend, sir, that the citizen soldier is at once the pride 
and glory, the stay and the surety of the nation ; and no government 
is wise which refuses to contribute, in this way, to the fostering of 
that warlike spirit in its militia. 

The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Nichols) told us the other day that 
his spirit originated solely in patriotism and devotion to our liberties, 
and that no greater insult could be offered to those gallant men than 
to put their services in the War of 1812 on a footing of dollars and 
cents. " Patriotism," said he, " is its own reward." What a pity it 
is that he is not as prompt to defend these men from real want as from 
imaginary insult ! I would not do any soldier of that war the injustice 
to suppose for a moment that thought of the pay influenced him in the 
slightest. His country was in danger ; that was enough for him. The 
bugle blast told him that the invader s foot was upon the soil, and he 
went to the rescue. But this is all the greater reason why they deserve 
well at our hands. As they were prompt and brave to defend us, so 
should we be prompt and liberal to repay them. I do not believe they 
are sufficiently repaid by the honor and glory they have acquired. 
Thousands of these men are now in the deepest poverty, and have the 
hardest work to keep the wolf from the doors of their homes, where 
dwell their wives and little ones. Can one of them walk into the 
market and buy a rump of beef or a leg of mutton with glory ? What 
merchant advertises that he will take either glory, honor, or renown, 
in exchange for beef, pork, and cabbage ? I doubt, sir, if either the 
gentleman from Ohio or myself would agree to represent our constitu 
ents in this hall, glorious as it is, without to speak in Kansas 
technology " an enabling statute." You may talk of glory as much 
as you like, but these old soldiers want some more substantial testi 
monial of the country s gratitude. 

That argument, sir, reminds me of the custom, in Catholic coun 
tries, of having the priest to pass over the fields in the spring and 



52 LIFE OF VANCE. 

bless the expected crop. On one such occasion, the priest being some 
thing of an agriculturist, paused at one field which was very poor and 
sterile. "Here, my friends," said he, " blessings will do no good ; 
this field must have manure." The old soldiers, sir, value the glory 
they have acquired, no doubt ; but they must have something that 
will do more good than empty fame. 

Sir, I hope gentlemen will not be guilty of the sin of so often 
taking the name of economy in vain, for the people will not hold 
them guiltless. I protest, sir, against making this word cover all the 
sins of the age. There are but few of these soldiers alive, and they 
are necessarily far advanced in years. It is but now and then that 
you meet with one of them ; and if we do our duty in cutting down 
our ruinous expenditures at the present session, the amount required 
to pay them will scarcely be felt. The bill provides no back pay, and 
only gives a small sum for life, graduated according to the length of 
the soldier s services. In my opinion the vast amount so unwisely 
spent in the bloodless Mormon war, would be sufficient for this bill. 
I do earnestly hope that the Senate may consider it favorably, and 
that it may become a law. 

On February i5th, 1859, Vance asked unanimous consent 
to introduce a bill to extend the bounty lands act of 
November 3d, 1855, to wagon masters and teamsters. Ob 
jected to. 

February i6th Mr. Cavanaugh wanted his colleague ex 
cused. Mr. Washburn: "What is the matter?" The 
Speaker: "He is presumed to be indisposed." Vance: 
"I would like to know if such presumption can be rebut 
ted?" [Laughter.] Motion not agreed to. 

The Thirty-Sixth Congress to which Vance was elected in 
1858, assembled in December, 1859. It was a memorable 
Congress, the last one before the great secession took place. 
This Congress was memorable on many accounts, but first 
and foremost for the long and bitter contest over the Speak- 
ership of the House. The members of the House consisted 
of 109 Republicans, 101 Democrats, 26 Americans and one 
Whig. Among them were many men distinguished then 
and since and whose names are quite familiar now, viz : 
Justin S. Merrill, of Vermont; Chas. Francis Adams and 
Columbus Delano, Masssachusetts ; Daniel E. Sickles, F. E. 
Spinner, Roscoe Conklin, New York ; Thaddeus Stevens, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 53 

Galusha A. Grow, Edward McPherson and John Covode, 
Pennsylvania ; Henry Winters Davis, Maryland ; Roger A. 
Pryor, Thos. S. Bocock and A. R. Boteler, Virginia; Law 
rence M. Keitt, M. L. Bonham and W. W. Boyce, South 
Carolina; Joshua Hill, Georgia; Jas. L. Pugh, J. M. L. 
Currie, Alabama; L. Q. C. Lamar, Wm. Barksdale, O. R. 
Singleton, Mississippi; Geo. H. Pendleton, C. L. Valland- 
ingham, Thos. Corwin, S. S. Cox, John Sherman, Ohio ; 
Thos. A. R. Nelson, Horace Maynard, Emerson Ethridge, 
Tennessee; W. S. Holman, W. H English, Schuyler Col- 
fax, Indiana; Jno. A. Logan, E. B. Washburn, Illinois; 
John H. Reagan, Texas ; Wm. Windom, Minnesota. The 
name of the delegate from Nebraska was "Experience 
Eastabrook." 

In the Senate were Hannibal Hamlin, Maine ; John P. 
Hale, New Hampshire ; Chas. Sumner, Henry Wilson, 
Massachusetts ; W. H. Seward, Preston King, New York ; 
Simon Cameron, Pennsylvania ; Jas. A. Bayard, Delaware ; 
Jas. M. Mason, R. M. T. Hunter, Virginia ; Robert Toombs, 
Georgia, Jefferson Davis, Mississippi; John Slidell, J. P. 
Benjamin, Louisiana ; John J. Crittenden, Kentucky ; An 
drew Johnson, A. O. P. Nicholson, Tennessee ; Stephen A. 
Douglas, Illinois ; Trusten Polk, Missouri ; Zach Chandler, 
Michigan ; Joseph Lane, Oregon. The Senators from North 
Carolina were Thos. Bragg and Thos. L. Clingman, and 
the delegation in the House were W. N. H. Smith, First 
district ; Thos. Ruffin, Second ; Warren Winslow, Third ; 
L. O B. Branch, Fourth ; Jno. A. Gilmer, Fifth ; James M. 
Leach, Sixth ; Burton Craig, Seventh, and Z. B. Vance, 
Eighth. Of these, Smith, Gilmer, Leach and Vance were 
classed as Americans, the others as Democrats. 

Party lines seem not to have been very closely drawn as 
to the speakership, and it does not appear that there were 
any caucus nominees. John Sherman was in the lead on 
the Republican side, but received only 66 votes out of a 
total of 109 Republicans. Bocock got nearly all the 



54 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Democrats on the first ballot, while the Americans scattered 
widely. Vance voted for Boteler, of Virginia, who received 
14 votes. This was the first ballot and the beginning of a 
struggle which lasted two months. It is difficult at this 
distance of time to understand, even from perusing the 
record of proceedings, the motives which guided the mem 
bers in casting their votes. And it is doubtful whether 
they themselves clearly apprehended either the true situa 
tion or their own motives and desires. The Democrats 
seem to have been most nearly solid but they were in a 
minority, while the Republicans were not harmonious 
among themselves, and the Americans, though holding the 
balance of power, were widely at variance with each other 
as to what course to pursue. Consequently the wildest 
shooting, the most inconsistent and erratic voting was wit 
nessed day after day. Candidates were being constantly 
put up and taken down by all parties. Two or three ballots 
were enough to test the strength of any candidate, and this 
strength seemed to depend largely upon individual antece 
dents, pledges and character. Lawrence M. Keitt, an 
eloquent and fiery young member from South Carolina, 
said in a speech on the subject that W. N. H. Smith, of 
North Carolina, was elected on a certain ballot, but before 
the result could be announced, enough votes were changed 
to defeat him. The discussions were for the most part 
highly sectional and inflammatory, though the language 
and bearing of the members towards each other were in the 
main courteous and respectful, otherwise it would have 
been impossible to preserve order and decorum without a 
presiding officer to enforce parliamentary law or decide 
questions of privilege and order. As no business could be 
transacted till a speaker was elected, the intervals between 
the ballotings were taken up with discussions of partizan 
and sectional questions. On the very first day of the ses 
sion, " The Invasion of Harper s Ferry " and " Helpers 
Impending Crisis," were lively topics of discussion. Amid 



LIFE OF VANCE. 55 

all this commotion and turmoil Vance was neither silent 
nor indifferent. Though among the young and inex 
perienced he was ever on the alert and his voice was 
frequently heard, sometimes in seriousness, but more fre 
quently, perhaps, in jest, whereby to tone down excitement, 
cool heated blood, take the poison from hostile arrows and 
convert bursts of anger into shouts of laughter. But his 
votes were as wild and scattering as the others. He did 
not want to vote for a Democrat, (another name as he then 
thought for secessionist) and he could not vote for a Re 
publican, then everywhere in the South called Black Re 
publican. The dead-lock finally came to an end. 

On the forty-fourth ballot, on February ist, Wm. Pen- 
nington, a Republican of New Jersey, an inexperienced and 
unknown man, was elected. On that ballot Vance voted 
for W. N. H. Smith, though Jno. A. Gilmer, of the same 
party and same State, received 16 votes. 

Vance s first speech in this Congress was delivered 
December 29th, 1859, and was as follows: 

I hope the House will indulge me a single remark, especially in 
consideration of the fact that I have not trespassed upon its attention 
from the commencement of the session until this time. I hope I have 
shown by the votes that I have recorded here in this contest that I am 
willing to assist in the election of any man upon a conservative and 
national basis, which phrase I am certain the House has never heard 
before. [Great laughter.] I have voted for a Lecompton Democrat. 
I have voted for those who did not approve of the Lecompton bill. I 
have voted for an administration Democrat. I have voted for an anti- 
administration Democrat. And if there is any other member of that 
great, prolific Democratic family that I have neglected, I hope they 
will trot him out and give me an opportunity to vote for him. 
[Laughter.] And now, sir, I am still willing to exhibit the same 
national conservative spirit by voting for Mr. Scott, of California. I 
vote for him knowing that he will not be elected on this ballot and 
that my vote will do him no good. But yesterday, when my gallant 
friend from Tennessee (Mr. Maynard) was nominated, forty-five Demo 
crats, members of this House, laid down their party prejudice and 
voted for him, and it shall not be said to-day, when Mr. Scott, a Demo 
crat, a national conservative one, I hope, was nominated, there was 
not found one Whig to return the compliment. I vote for Charles I,. 
Scott. [Applause in the galleries.] 



56 LIFE OF VANCE. 

His second and only other speech of any length in that 
Congress was delivered on January 3ist, 1860, and was as 
follows : 

As a general thing I do not believe in the propriety of a Representa 
tive making a personal explanation for every thing he has done here 
or every vote he thinks proper to give. This House is not the tribunal 
to which I have to answer for my conduct. My constituents will 
require that of me, and I will answer to them as best I can. I profess 
to have a fee simple in my own understanding, though my under 
standing, like the fee, may be simple also. But I propose upon this 
occasion very briefly for brevity is the soul of wit (I should like at 
least to possess the sole wit of brevity) to make the vote I am now 
going to give the occasion rather than the subject of a brief explana 
tion. I do not insist on every Democrat in this House voting for the 
gentleman from Illinois as a condition precedent before I can vote for 
him myself. The gentleman from Illinois (Mr. McClernard), when 
my honorable colleague, Mr. Smith was put in nomination, differing 
from him as much as I differ from the gentleman from Illinois, came 
forward with a magnanimity, a generosity and with a patriotism I 
have rarely seen equalled, without making any inquiries or asking 
questions, and cast his vote for my colleague. Now, sir, shall not I 
reciprocate the honor conferred on my State, be magnanimous enough 
to do the same thing ? Some of my South American friends have said 
that in consequence of the peculiar doctrines in relation to the gov 
ernment of the Territories that the Northwestern Democrats are 
supposed to entertain, they cannot make such a sacrifice of principle 
as to come to this gentleman s support. Sir, when we ourselves have 
seen these Northwestern Democrats come up to the support of a South 
ern opposition man, though differing widely from themselves, to organ 
ize the House, and have seen, on the other hand, a Southern slaveholder ) 
a Representative from a Southern city (Mr. Davis, of Maryland), delib 
erately supporting the candidate of the Black Republican party, I 
confess I feel it would be ill-requiting their conservatism to deny 
them our support. [Great applause in the galleries.] I do not con 
sider myself as endorsing anything by this vote save and except alone 
my own opposition to Black Republicanism. I consider it an evidence 
of the degeneracy of the times that gentlemen here cannot sacrifice as 
small and insignificant a thing as their party prejudices for the com 
mon good, when men may be sometimes called upon as our fathers 
were in times past, to sacrifice their lives, their fortunes and their 
heart s blood to the cause of their country. And I to-day feel ashamed 
as did the people of old, who refused to receive a present of the oxen 
with which to make a sacrifice saying that he would not offer a sacri 
fice to God of that which cost him nothing. By this, sir, I mean to 
cast no sort of imputation upon the patriotism of those of my political 



LIFE OF VANCE. 57 

friends who see proper to differ with me or to impugn the validity of 
their reasons for not voting as I do. I only mean to say that members 
of the Democracy refusing to vote for their own man forms no suffi 
cient reason why I should not meet the gentleman from Illinois on the 
high conservative grounds which he has occupied throughout this 
contest and return the compliment which he has paid my colleague 
and through him my State. Therefore, sir, I have to say without 
hesitation, equivocation, mental reservation or secret evasion of mind 
whatever, straight along and throughout I vote for John A. Mc- 
Clernard, of Illinois. 

Although Vance made no elaborate speeches during this 
Congress and although he was young and inexperienced he 
was one of the most attentive, alert, lively and industrious 
members of that body, as the official records abundantly 
show. He was placed on the standing committee on revo 
lutionary claims with S. S. Cox, W. S. Holman and others, 
but was assigned to no other standing committee. 

On February i6th, 1860, he introduced a bill to execute 
the treaties of 1817 and 1819 with the Cherokee Indians 
which was read and appropriately referred, and on the same 
day explained as to the transfer of pairs of Leach and Moss 
on the vote for Public Printer. On March 9th, from the 
committee on revolutionary claims he reported a bill for 
the relief of the heirs of Col. Benjamin Wilson, which was 
read and referred to the private calendar ; also a bill for the 
relief of the heirs of Rev. Jas. Craig, which was similarly 
referred, and on the same day he twice offered the excuses 
of his colleague Leach for absence at roll call. On March 
1 2th, he offered the following resolution which by unani 
mous consent was considered and agreed to: " Resolved, 
That the committee on public lands be instructed to enquire 
into the propriety of providing for the duplication, under 
proper restrictions against fraud, of lost land warrants issued 
to soldiers and of extending the term of the same, and that 
they have leave to report by bill or otherwise." April 6th, 
Vance, from the committee on Revolutionary claims, re 
ported a bill for the relief of the heirs of James Bell, of 
Canada, which was read and appropriately referred, and on 



58 LIFE OF VANCE. 

April yth he had a colloquy with Burnett, Crawford and 
others as to bills reported in favor of Revolutionary claims. 
On April aoth he excused his colleague Ruffin who was 
absent at roll call. On May 4th Vance reported a bill for 
the relief of Robert Stricklin, another for the relief of 
the heirs of Thos. Hagard, and another for the relief of the 
heirs of Lieut. George Walton ; also a bill in favor of An 
drew Reese, and another for the relief of Richard Jones and 
others, all which were read and referred to the committee 
of the whole House. On May 9th there was a call of the 
roll. Mr. Delano was in the restaurant when his name 
was called, but returned to the hall before the roll call was 
ended and asked permission to vote. The Speaker inquired 
if the gentleman was within the bar of the House when his 
name was called. He answered he was within the bar of 
the restaurant. Mr. Cochrane said if he would explain 
fully what he was doing in the restaurant, perhaps he 
might get leave to vote. Mr. Delano said : ! was engaged 
in the great work of self-protection." Vance interposed, 
"I thought perhaps the gentleman might have been en 
gaged in the matter of internal improvement" [Great 
Laughter.] 

May Qth, a tariff bill was under discussion, Vance said : 
" I move to strike out in line 79 the word pitmpkins. I 
make the motion in deference to the gentleman who has 
taken the terrapins of my State under his charge and for 
his benefit, and that of his constituents. I have no doubt 
a high duty on pumpkins would operate favorably." 
[Laughter.] 

May 1 8th he reported a bill for the relief of the Presby 
terian church at Trenton, New Jersey, which was read and 
referred to the whole House. May 29th the appropriation 
bill was under consideration. A good deal of complaint 
had been made about the high prices paid for labor and 
material in repairs upon the capitol, when Vance offered 
the following amendment : u Provided, that there shall not 



LIFE OF VANCE. 59 

be expended for labor and material upon the capitol exten 
sion more than twice as much as the same could be ob 
tained for by private individuals." [Laughter.] On May 
23d there was a call of the House. Mr. Etheridge asked 
leave to retire for thirty minutes. The cat calls and guying 
implied that he was suspected of wanting to get a drink. 
A motion being made to excuse him for half an hour, 
Vance said : " I move to amend by asking the gentleman 
to take me along with him." [Laughter.] A Japanese 
minister visited the capitol, and Mr. Winslow, of North 
Carolina, was on the committee of escort. During his ab 
sence there was a roll call, and Vance created great merri 
ment by announcing that his u colleague, Mr. Winslow, was 
paired with the gentleman from Yeddo." June 2d he made 
an adverse report on a bill to which Mr. Barr was opposed. 
The latter, perhaps, not noticing that the report was ad 
verse, entered an objection. "What," said Vance, "object 
to my killing the bill for you?" June 6th there was a 
call of the House, and an all-night session. Vance was sum 
moned from his home about 2 o clock in the morning 
and required to give his excuse to the House. He said : 
" Well, sir, I am rather afraid to undertake to render an 
excuse, as it seems that any excuse having a reason in it is 
not in order in this House, [laughter] and I would not 
like to give an excuse that has no reason ; therefore, I will 
say the. demands of food and sleep took me home. I under 
stood the House was in committee of the whole on the 
state of the Union, and that its members were engaged in 
discussions intended for my district. I represent Buncombe. 
[Laughter.] I was disagreeably disturbed at a few minutes 
past 2 o clock this morning, while I was wrapped in the 
arms of Morpheus and dreaming pleasant dreams which I 
need not detain this House to relate." Shortly afterwards, 
seeing that the Speaker was absent and was represented by 
a substitute in the chair, he inquired : " Where is the 
Speaker ? Is he enjoying himself at home while we suffer 



60 LIFE OF VANCE. 

here ? " A motion was made to send a messenger to inform 
the Speaker that his presence was required in the House. 
Vance said send the Sergeant-at-Arms, but objection being 
made that more courtesy was due the Speaker, Vance said : 
" I do not wish to be wanting in courtesy, but there was 
some courtesy due my slumbers, so rudely broken at half 
past 2 o clock this morning." When the Speaker appeared, 
a while before day, Vance arose and said : I give the 
Speaker the top of the morning and hope he had a good 
night s rest." The member from Oregon (his name was 
Stout) being absent, a fellow-member said there was some 
doubt about the health of the member from Oregon, and 
he should be allowed to explain. Vance said : " I am 
happy to inform the gentleman from Maryland that the 
member from Oregon is quite stout." [Laughter.] On a 
certain vote Vance said he was paired with Mr. Stout, who 
had gone to Baltimore (to the Democratic convention) to 
witness the riot. [Laughter.] 

January I2th, 1861, (second session) he made a report 
from the committee on Revolutionary claims in favor of 
Mary Clearwater, of New York, and on February 6th 
explained his vote as to postal laws in seceding States. 
February i2th, he reported a bill in favor of the heirs of 
Robert Stockton, of New Jersey, Quarter Master in the 
Army. February I9th, he explained that his colleague, 
Smith, was absent on account of sickness, but if present 
would vote in the affirmative. 

January I4th, he said : "I suppose that Congress has 
for forty years been making speeches for buncombe, there 
will be no objection to Buncombe making a speech for 
herself. I, therefore, offer a resolution from Buncombe 
county ; also one from Caldwell county, North Carolina, in 
relation to the state of the country, and ask that they be 
referred to the proper committee." Washburn, of Illinois, 
said : " I desire to know whether the resolutions are in 
earnest or merely for buncombe." Vance replied : " They 



LIFE OF VANCE. 6 1 

are in earnest. Buncombe never speaks for herself except 
when in dead earnest." 

This was his last utterance in the House. Lincoln was 
inaugurated President on the 4th of March ensuing, which 
was the end of the Thirty-Sixth Congress. And although 
Vance had been elected to the Thirty-Seventh Congress, he 
was in the Confederate army before that Congress as 
sembled. 



62 LIFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER VI. 

BREAKING OUT OF THE WAR RAISES A COMPANY. BY 
GEN. R. B. VANCE. 

The Breaking Out of the War Excitement in Asheville Vance s 
Speech at Marshall Lincoln s Proclamation Two Volunteer 
Companies Formed Vance Captain of the Rough and Ready 
Guards Its Officers Departure from Asheville Arrival in Ral 
eigh and Assignment to the Fourteenth Regiment. 



excitement throughout the country caused by the 
J_[ firing upon Fort Sumter, and the proclamation of 
the President was of the wildest character. Mr. Vance 
spoke at Marshall on the day - , 1861. He had 
taken ground in Congress against secession, which he 
strongly opposed, but at the same time he declared his 
belief in the right of revolution. He earnestly warned the 
country of the danger of attempting to coerce the States of 
the South by force of arms. He had in the closing hours 
of Congress, with all the warmth of his heart and the 
power of his eloquence, exerted himself for the preservation 
of the Union, and that this should be done peacefully. 

With these views, he spoke at Marshall. The court 
house was crowded, the people solemn and attentive, and 
Vance delivered his address without anecdotes, and in the 
most feeling manner. Sorrow and gloom were depicted on 
the faces of the people. Vance returned to Asheville that 
night and found the citizens in a state of agitation and ex 
citement over the President s proclamation. The very 
next day there was a movement for raising troops to act in 
opposition to the call of the President. The first company 
raised in Buncombe was that of Capt. W. W. McDowell, 
afterwards Maj. McDowell of the Confederate States Army, 
The next company that left the county was Vance s com 
pany, "The Rough and Ready Guards." It was organized 



UFE OF VANCE. 63 

at Asheville on the 4th day of May, 1861, with the follow 
ing officers and non-commissioned officers : Zebulon B. 
Vance, Captain; Philetus W. Roberts, First Lieutenant; 
James M. Gudger, Second Lieutenant ; Samuel S. Brown, 
Second Lieutenant; Frank M. Harney, First Sergeant; 
Branch A. Merrimon, Second Sergeant; Thos. D. John 
ston, Third Sergeant; Thomas N. Stephens, Fourth 
Sergeant ; J. M. Whitmire, Fifth Sergeant ; I. V. Baird, 
First Corporal ; A. G. Horner, Second Corporal ; A. F. 
Harris, Third Corporal ; D. M. Gudger, Fourth Corporal. 

The day that the " Rough and Ready Guards " left Ashe 
ville was a memorable one. The streets were crowded with 
people, friends and admirers of the company, who had 
come to see the gallant boys turn their faces eastward. 
The stirring notes of drums and fifes, the waving of flags, 
the thrilling and patriotic echoes of " Dixie," the shouts of 
the people and the tears of the bystanders, as they looked 
on faces never, in all probability to be seen again on earth, 
made it indeed a scene long to be remembered. The gal 
lant boys passed out of the city by South Main Street, 
turned to the left at the Swannanoa, and passed up its 
beautiful banks, followed for miles by weeping women and 
loving friends. The noble and heroic men of this company 
and their beloved captain are not forgotten by the people, 
and never will be as long as the splintered peaks of their 
mountains pierce the sky and the waters from the vicinity 
of Mitchell s Peak roll murmuringly to the sea. The 
warmth of an abiding love clings around the dear old 
veterans who are spared to us, while the tears of mothers, 
wives, children, sisters and sweethearts embalm the resting 
places of the dead, where 

" The silent pillar, lone and gray, 
Claims kindred with their sacred clay; 
Their spirits wrap the dusky mountains, 
Their memories sparkle o er the fountains; 
The meanest rill, the mightiest rirer, 
Roll mingling with their fame forever." 



64 LIFE OF VANCE. 

The "Guards" camped the first night at "West s Old 
Field," which is to the present day the rendezvous of the 
company in the annual reunions of the survivors. Capt. 
Vance returned to his home that night, and next day, on 
horseback, passed out of the city through the gap of 
the mountian known as " Beau Catcher." The captain 
lingered long in the gap overlooking his home and his city. 
In the near distance the French Broad rolled on with its 
rugged waters. Still further away old Pisgah lifted its 
lofty peaks above the Hominies and Pigeon rivers, and 
further still the Smoky Range endeavored to rival Mount 
Mitchell in its height and in its glory. With a deep sigh 
the captain turned away from a sight so entrancing. It 
reminds one of Boabdil, in the gap of the mountain over 
looking the Alhambra and fair Granada, which spot has 
since been known as "The Last Sigh of the Moor." While 
not knowing, as did Boabdil, that he would never see his 
home again, it was highly probable that he never would be 
so blessed. 

Captain Vance, on his arrival at Raleigh with his com 
pany, was placed in the Fourteenth Regiment of North 
Carolina Troops. 



LIFE OF VANCK. 65 



CHAPTER VII. 

AS SOLDIER AND WAR GOVERNOR. 

While Captain of Rough and Ready Guard in Fourteenth Regiment, is 
Elected Colonel of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment Takes Command 
on Bogue Banks Plans to Recapture Hatteras Thwarted by 
General Gatling Battle of Newbern Considerable Loss Difficult 
Retreat Swims Bryce s Creek With Men and Horses Writes a 
Letter Declining to Run for Congress in His Old District Letter 
Denning His Position as to Running for Governor Is Nominated 
and Elected Governor Sword Presented and Speeches Made on 
Leaving the Army Is Inaugurated Governor First Man to Put 
Down Speculation in Provisions Writes Letters to President 
Davis and Others to Prevent Suspension of Habeas Corpus Re 
quires Decisions of Judges to Be Respected by the Military 
Objects to Foraging Confederate Cavalry on the People of This 
State Refuses to Impress Negroes to Work on Railroads Calls 
the Cavalry Foragers the Eleventh Plague of Egypt Sends 
Money to Governor Seymour to Supply North Carolina Prisoners 
With Needed Clothing Blockade Steamers Carry Out Cotton and 
Bring Back Supplies, Clothing, Guns, Shoes, Cotton and Woolen 
Cards, Scythes, Medicines, Etc. 

DN the fall of 1861, while Captain of the Rough and 
Ready Guards, in the Fourteenth Regiment, Vance was 
elected Colonel of the Twenty-sixth Regiment. Soon after 
taking command, his regiment was assigned to duty on 
Bogue Banks, near Fort Macon. This was shortly after 
the fall of Hatteras. The service there proving monoto 
nous, he conceived the design of recapturing Hatteras by a 
night attack. It was understood the garrison was small, 
and Col. Vance thought that by landing a few hundred 
picked men, well equipped with side-arms, out of the range 
of the guns of the fort, a hurried march by land could be 
made, the guard overpowered in a hand-to-hand contest, 
and the fort retaken. After conferring with a few of his 



66 LIFE OF VANCE. 

chosen officers, lie laid the project before Gen. Gatling, 
who commanded the department. After patiently and 
rather listlessly hearing the details, the General pronounced 
the scheme hazardous and impracticable, and refused to 
give his assent. 

When Roanoke Island had fallen into the hands of 
Burnside Newbern was seen to be in danger, and Vance s 
regiment, with other troops, was moved to that point. 
Here on March i4th the battle of Newbern was fought. 
The position of Vance s regiment was on the right, while 
on his right was an impassable swamp. The left wing of 
his regiment was heavily engaged until about 12 o clock, 
when the boats of Burnside passing up the river and caus 
ing the troops between Vance s regiment and the river to 
give way, a retreat was ordered. Vance s regiment, though 
heavily pressed and sustaining considerable loss, was 
among the last to leave the field. The bridges on the 
Trent River having been burned, this regiment was sup 
posed to have been cut off and captured. But not so. 
The Colonel made a detour by the left flank, crossing 
Brice s Creek by swimming a number of men and horses, 
and crossing the river above Trenton. On the next day he 
marched the regiment into Kinston in good order. His 
skill and that of his Lieutenant Colonel, Harry Burgwyn, 
in handling the troops and providing for their welfare at 
the peril of their own safety and the sacrifice of their own 
comfort, greatly endeared them to their men. The regi 
ment was shortly afterwards ordered to Virginia, and 
participated in the seven days fight around Richmond, 
being actively engaged four days, and winding up with the 
Malvern Hill engagement July 3d, 1862. 

At the general election of August in that year he was 
chosen Governor of the State by a very large majority. 
He did not seek the office. He remained at his post in 
command of his regiment till after the election. He took 
no part whatever in the campaign, but made known his 



LIFE OF VANCE. 67 

views and feelings in the following letter to the Fayette- 
ville Observer: 

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-SIXTH REGIMENT N. C. TROOPS, 

KINSTON, N. C., June i6th, 1862. 
Editors of the Observer : 

A number of primary meetings of the people and a respectable 
portion of the newspapers of the State having put forward my name 
for the office of Governor, to which I may also add the reception of 
numerous letters to the same purport, I deem it proper that I should 
make some response to these flattering indications of confidence and 
regard. 

Believing that the only hope of the South depended upon the prose 
cution of the war at all hazards and to the utmost extremity so long as 
the foot of an invader pressed Southern soil, I took the field at an 
early day, with the determination to remain there until our independ 
ence was achieved. My convictions in this regard remain unchanged. 
In accordance therewith I have steadily and sincerely declined all 
promotion save that which placed me at the head of the gallant men 
whom I now command. A true man should, however, be willing to 
serve wherever the public voice may assign him. If, therefore, my 
fellow-citizens believe that I could serve the great cause better as 
Governor than I am now doing, and should see proper to confer this 
great responsibility upon me without solicitation on my part, I should 
not feel at liberty to decline it, however conscious of my own un- 
worthiness. 

In thus frankly avowing my willingness to labor in any position 
which may be thought best for the public good, I do not wish to be 
considered guilty of the affectation of indifference to the great honor 
which my fellow-citizens thus propose to bestow upon me. On the 
contrary, I should consider it the crowning glory of my life to be 
placed in a position where I could most advance the interests and 
honor of North Carolina, and if necessary lead her gallant sons against 
her foes. But I shall be content with the people s will. Let them 
speak. 

Sincerely deprecating the growing tendency towards party strife 
amongst our people, which every patriot should shun in the presence 
of the common danger, I earnestly pray for that unity of sentiment 
and fraternity of feeling which alone, with the favor of God, can 
enable us to prosecute this war for liberty and independence against 
all odds and under every adversity, to a glorious and triumphant issue. 
Very truly yours, Z. B. VANCE. 

He had previously written the following letter, declining 
a nomination for Congress in his old district and giving 
his reasons: 



68 LIFE OF VANCE. 

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-SIXTH REGIMENT N. C. TROOPS, 

CAMP BURGWYN, NEAR MOREHEAD CITY, Sept. i8th, 1861. 

DEAR SIR : Your letter of the 2d inst., addressed to my brother, 
was forwarded by him, and received this day. In it you ask, first, if 
I will be a candidate for Congress, and second, if not a candidate, will 
I consent for my name to be run ? To both questions I answer in the 
negative. To this course I am impelled by what I consider the most 
conclusive reasons. 

You remember well the position I occupied upon the great ques 
tion which so lately divided the people of the South . Ardently devoted 
to the old Union, and the forms which the Federal fathers established, 
I clung to it so long as I thought there was a shadow of hope for pre 
serving, purifying or reconstructing it. And you will also remember 
that in the last official communication I had the honor to make to my 
constituents as their Representative I pledged myself in case all our 
efforts for peace and justice at the hands of the North should fail, that 
their cause was mine, their destiny was my destiny, and that all I had 
and was should be spent in their service. Those hopes did fail, as 
you know, signally and miserably fail ; civil war was thrust upon the 
country, and the strong arm of Northern despotism was stretched out 
to crush and subdue the Southern people. I immediately volunteered 
for their defense, in obedience, not only to this promise, but also, as I 
trust, to patriotic instincts ; and I should hold this promise but poorly 
fulfilled, should I now, after having acquired sufficient knowledge of 
niilitary affairs to begin to be useful to my country, escape its obliga 
tions by seeking, or even accepting a civil appointment. 

Certainly, if there lives a man in North Carolina who ought to do 
all and suffer all for his country, I am that man. Since the time of my 
entering upon man s estate the people have heaped promotion and 
honors, all undeserved, upon my head. In everything I have sought, 
their generous confidence, their unfailing kindness have sustained 
me. Whilst I can never sufficiently repay it, I am determined, God 
helping me, to show them I was not altogether unworthy of their 
regard. I am, therefore, not a candidate for Congress, nor will I con 
sent for my name to be run. I am perfectly satisfied to be represented 
again by the sound sense and sober judgment of the gentleman who 
has so lately represented us at Richmond, or by a dozen gentlemen 
who live in our district not connected with the army, some of whom I 
hope the common peril and the common cause will induce our people 
to elect, without bickering and strife. 

I cannot close this hasty letter without assuring you that I am not 
insensible to the compliment conveyed by your own and a hundred 
other similar interrogations, which have reached me from different 
parts of the district. No man can feel prouder or more grateful at 
such manifestations. Surely God has never blessed a man with more 
sterling and devoted friends than I can number in the mountain 
district. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 69 

May my name perish from the memory of my wife and children 
when I cease to remember these friends with gratitude. 

Among the many who have adhered so faithfully to my poor 
fortune through good and through evil report, I am always proud to 
remember you, unfalteringly and unmistakably. 

Please to accept, in conclusion, every assurance of my regards 
and good wishes for you and yours. 

Most truly yours, Z. B. VANCE. 

To N. G. Allman, Esq., Franklin, N. C. 

Just before the battle of Malvern Hill took place a num 
ber of Colonel Vance s officers and men besought him not 
to go into the fight because of the peculiarly great calamity 
that would follow his death just on the eve of the election. 
But it was not of his nature to pay heed to such an ad 
monition. He led his regiment into the thickest of the 
fight, as usual, and came out unharmed. The election 
came off while the regiment was in camp near Petersburg, 
and Vance received every vote cast in the regiment. Be 
fore he left the army to prepare for his inauguration as 
Governor the officers of the regiment presented him with a 
sword, the presentation speech being made by the late 
L. Iv. Polk, the Sergeant Major of the regiment. Vance s 
speech in reply was characteristically humorous and pa 
thetic. 

He was inaugurated on the 8th day of September, under 
the .provisions of an ordinance of the Convention, instead 
of on January ist, 1863, a ^ which time the full term of 
Governor Ellis, then lately deceased, would expire. 

No one can peruse Governor Vance s letter book without 
being impressed with the fact that his thoughts were 
chiefly occupied while Governor in devising means for 
clothing and feeding the North Carolina troops in the 
field and their dependent and helpless families at home. 
Upon investigation he found that adequate legislation had 
not been provided for this purpose, and just ten days after 
his inauguration he addressed a letter to Hon. Weldon N. 
Edwards, President of the State Convention, asking him 



JO LIFE OF VANCE. 

to call a special session to supply the needed legislation. 
He says : " Speculation and extortion have attained such 
proportions that it will be impossible to clothe and shoe 
our troops except at most outrageous prices. The cry of 
distress comes up from the poor wives and children of our 
soldiers from all parts of the State. It is a subject which 
distresses me beyond measure, the more so as I feel power 
less to remedy any of these evils." His personal staff 
consisted of Dr. Edward Warren, Surgeon General ; J. G. 
Martin, Daniel G. Fowle and Richard Gatlin, successively, 
Adjutant Generals; R. H. Battle first, and then M. S. 
Robins, private secretary. 

It seems that the convention was not called together as 
the Governor had requested, but the Legislature convened 
in regular session in November, and so soon as authority 
was given to the Governor, he proceeded in a most system 
atic and vigorous way, to make provision for supplying the 
soldiers and people with the necessaries and comforts of 
life. Ocean steamers were purchased, the "Advance" and 
others, to transport cotton abroad. These steamers, by run 
ning the blockade made frequent trips to Liverpool, and 
were reloaded with all such articles as were most needed 
by the people of the State, such as cotton cards, spinning 
wheels and sewing and knitting needles, for the use of the 
good housewives in making clothes, and also with various 
kinds of machinery for the use of the cotton and woolen mills 
the State ; also surgical instruments and medicines. An 
agent was sent to England to superintend the selling of the 
cotton and the purchase of the articles which so much 
enhanced the comforts of the soldiers and people. 

In a speech delivered in Baltimore, before the Associa 
tion of the Maryland Line, in 1885, Governor Vance made 
the following statement as to what had been accomplished 
by blockade-running, viz : 

By the general industry and thrift of our people, and by the use of a 
number of blockade-running steamers, carrying out cotton and bringing 



LIFE OF VANCE. 71 

in supplies from Europe, I had collected and distributed from time to 
time as near as could be gathered from the records of the Quartermas 
ter s Department, the following stores : Large quantities of machinery 
supplies ; 60,000 pairs of hand cards ; 10,000 grain scythes ; 200 barrels 
of bluestone for wheat-growers ; leather and shoes to 250,000 pairs ; 50,- 
ooo blankets ; grey-wooled cloth for at least 250,000 suits of uniforms ; 
12,000 overcoats, ready-made ; 2,000 best Enfield rifles, with 100 rounds 
of fixed ammunition ; 100,000 pounds of bacon ; 500 sacks of coffee for 
hospital use ; $50,000 worth of medicines at gold prices ; large quanti 
ties of lubricating oils, besides minor supplies of various kinds for the 
charitable institutions of the State. Not only was the supply of shoes, 
blankets and clothing more than sufficient for the supply of the North 
Carolina troops, but large quantities were turned over to the Confed 
erate government for the troops of other States. In the winter 
succeeding the battle of Chickamauga, I sent to General Longstreet s 
corps 14,000 suits of clothing complete. At the surrender of General 
Johnston the State had on hand ready-made and in cloth 92,000 suits 
of uniforms, with great stores of blankets, leather, etc. To make good 
the warrant on which these purchases had been made abroad, the 
State purchased and had on hand in trust for the holders 11,000 bales 
of cotton and 100,000 barrels of rosin. The cotton was partly destroyed 
before the war closed and the remainder, amounting to several 
thousand bales, was captured, after peace was declared, by certain 
officers of the Federal army. 

Next to feeding and clothing the soldiers and their 
families, the Governor was most concerned in maintaining 
the supremacy of the civil authorities of the State against 
the aggressions of military power, and in mitigating the 
hardships of the conscript law and other measures and 
methods incident to a state of war. Inter anna silent leges 
is an ancient Latin maxim which has been somewhat 
figuratively translated " The voice of the law is silent amid 
the din and clash of arms." 

It is almost universally the case in all countries, that the 
military becomes paramount to the civil power in time of 
war, and thus the liberty of the citizen is at least tem 
porarily destroyed, and the rights of private property trod 
den under foot. Governor Vance seems to have determined 
at the very beginning of his administration to uphold the 
civil law and keep the military in subjection, especially 
where personal liberty and property rights were concerned. 



7 2 LIFE OF VANCE. 

He was determined that the writ of habeas corpus should 
not be suspended, and that the mandates of the Judges of 
the Civil Courts should be respected and obeyed, notwith 
standing the prevalence of war. The conscript law enacted 
by the Confederate Congress was, of course, to be executed 
by the Confederate military authorities, and the construc 
tion of that law as to what persons were subject to its 
provisions was primarily a matter to be passed upon by 
these officers. But their jurisdiction was not exclusive or 
final. Wherever the power and authority of a State, as 
such, or the rights and liberties of any of its citizens were 
involved, the judges of the civil courts had jurisdiction, 
and as these were the highest and only constitutional 
tribunals for finally deciding such cases, Governor Vance 
was determined that their decisions should be respected 
and obeyed. The struggle was long and difficult. He 
had many sharp encounters with the Confederate officials, 
and was sometimes accused of being hostile to that govern 
ment and of throwing obstacles in its way. And yet he 
equipped and sent to the field more troops, according to 
population, than were sent from any other State one-sixth, 
in fact, of all the men mustered into the Confederate army. 
And investigation will show that in every instance he was 
only contending for the constitutional and legal rights of 
the citizens of the State as against the encroachments and 
usurpations of the military authorities. 

By persistence, tact and wonderful courage he won the 
final triumph. To him is due the proud distinction that 
in North Carolina alone, of all the States, with one possible 
exception, in the United States or the Confederate States, 
the writ of habeas corpus was at no time suspended during 
the four years war. Referring to this subject in his third 
inaugural address, delivered in January, 1877, he said: 

It was North Carolina, who with one other State to assist her, re 
fused to agree to a provision in the American constitution permitting 
Congress in any emergency to suspend the privileges of the great writ 



LIFE OF VANCE. 73 

of human liberty ; it was in North Carolina, and I believe only in 
North Carolina, that in the midst of the greatest civil war of modern 
times, when forty millions of people were engaged in desperate strife, 
amid the gleaming of bayonets, the roaring of cannon, the thunder of 
charging squadrons and the light of burning cities the civil power 
maintained its supremacy over the military, the judge was obeyed 
inter arma andebanter leges. 

The following copies of letters from Governor Vance s 
official letter book throw a flood of light upon the efforts 
he made to uphold the supremacy of the civil law, miti 
gate the hardships of war in general and of the conscript 
law in parlicular, and to provide for the comforts and 
necessities of the soldiers in the field and their families at 
home : 

RALEIGH, N. C., October 25th, 1862. 
His Excellency Jefferson Davis : 

DEAR SIR : When in Richmond, I had the honor to call your at 
tention, in the presence of Mr. Randolph, to the subject of allowing 
the conscripts the privilege of selecting the regiments to which they 
should go. I understood you and the Secretary both to assent to it 
willingly. 

A few days after my return home, therefore, I was much surprised 
and grieved to find an order coming from the Secretary to Major Mal 
let to disregard an order to this effect from Brigadier-General Martin, 
and to place all of them in certain brigades under General French. I 
immediately addressed a letter to Mr. Randolph protesting against it, 
and giving my reasons for so doing. To this letter, after the lapse of 
two weeks, I have received no reply. Last week about one hundred 
men were brought into camp from one county above, from a region 
somewhat lukewarm, who had been got to come cheerfully, under the 
solemn promise made them by my enrolling officer that they should 
be allowed to join any regiment they desired, according to the pub 
lished order. Under the circumstances, General Martin said they 
might have their choice, started them accordingly, and wrote to 
General French, begging his consent to the arrangement. He refused, 
and according to a note received from him, the men were stopped at 
Petersburg and distributed equally to certain regiments, as quarter 
master s stores or any other chattel property, alleging that, by not 
coming in sooner, they had forfeited all claims to consideration. 

On the shortsightedness and inhumanity of this harsh course towards 
our people I shall offer no comment. I wish not only to ask that a 
more liberal policy may be adopted, but to make it the occasion of in 
forming you also of a few things of a political nature, which you ought 
to have. 



74 LIFE OF VANCE. 

The people of this State have ever been eminently conservative, 
and jealous of their political rights. The transition from their former 
opinions anterior to our troubles, to a state of revolution and war, was 
a sudden and very extraordinary one. Prior to Lincoln s proclama 
tion the election of delegates to our proposed Convention, exhibited a 
popular majority of upwards of 30,000 against secession for existing 
causes. The late election, after sixteen months of war and member 
ship with the Confederacy, shows conclusively that the original 
advocates of secession no longer hold the ear of our people. Without 
the warm and ardent support of the old Union men North Carolina 
could not so promptly and generously have been brought to the sup 
port of the seceding States, and without that same influence constantly 
and unremittingly given, the present status could not be main 
tained forty-eight hours. J^hese are facts. I allude to them, not to 
remind you of my heretofore political differences, (which I earnestly 
hope are buried in the graves of our gallant countrymen), but simply 
to give you information. 

The corrollary to be deduced is briefly this : that the opinions and 
advice of the old Union leaders must be heeded with regard to the 
government of affairs in North Carolina, or the worst consequences 
may ensue. I am candid with you for the cause s sake. I believe, 
sir, most sincerely, that the conscript law could not have been executed 
by a man of different antecedents from myself, without outbreaks 
among our people. And now, with all the popularity with which I 
came into office, it will be exceedingly difficult for me to execute it 
under your recent call, with all the assistance you can afford me. If, 
on the contrary, West Point generals, who know much less of human 
nature than I do of military service, are to ride rough-shod over the 
people, drag them from their homes, and assign them, or rather con 
sign them to strange regiments and strange commanders, without 
regard to their wishes or feelings, I must be compelled to decline 
undertaking a task which will certainly fail. These conscripts are 
entitled to consideration. They comprise a number of the best men 
in their communities, whom indispensible business, large and helpless 
families, poverty and distress, in a thousand shapes, have combined 
to keep at home until the last moment. In spite of all the softening 
I could give to the law, and all the appeals that could be made to their 
patriotism, much discontent has grown up, and now the waters of 
insubordination begin to surge more angrily than ever, as the extended 
law goes into effect. Many openly declare they want not another con 
script to leave the State until provision is made for her own defense. 
Others say it will not leave labor sufficient to support the women and 
children, and therefore it must not be executed. Thousands are 
flying from our eastern counties, with their slaves, to the centre and 
west, to devour the very short crops, and increase the prospects of 
starvation. Governor Letcher is threatening to deprive the State of a 



LIFE OF VANCE. 75 

contract we have for procuring salt in Virginia, and when the enemy 
secures Wilmington (which he no doubt will do when the pestilence 
abates) we shall have no assurance of obtaining it from any other 
source, hence I am importuned by many to defend our own coast 
myself. You see the difficulties that beset me. But through them all 
I have endeavored and shall endeavor to hold my course straight for 
ward for the common good. It is disheartening, however, to find that 
I am thwarted in so small a matter as this, which is yet a great one to 
the conscript. I have thus spoken candidly and explicitly. I beg that 
you will not in any matter misunderstand me, or fail to appreciate my 
motives. I trust that, whether on the field or in the council, I have 
established my claim to respect and confidence. I can do much 
towards increasing our armies, if properly aided by the War Depart 
ment. When the sowing of the wheat crop is completed, fifteen or 
twenty thousand men can be got out. in a short time, especially if an 
assurance can be given that an adequate proportion will be sent to the 
defense of our own coast and suffering people. * * * * A course of 
justice and fair treatment will do more than all besides in bringing 
our entire able bodied population in the field. 

Earnestly requesting that my representation of things in North 
Carolina may enable you to do that which is for the best, and will 
most advance the great cause for which the nation is suffering and 
bleeding, I remain, with kindest respect, 

Your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, November nth, 1862. 
His Excellency President Davis : 

MY DEAR SIR : By the recent expedition of our troops by the 
order of General French into eastern North Carolina some forty persons 
were arrested on suspicion of disloyalty and sent up to Salisbury for 
safe keeping. As Governor of the State of which they are citizens, it 
becomes my duty to see that they are protected in whatever rights 
pertain to them. First among them is the undeniable right of a trial of 
their alleged offenses. A number of others, it is proper to state, have 
been there in confinement for some time past under similar circum 
stances. I should be glad to know what disposition is to be made of 
them, or if there exists any grave public reason why their cases should 
not be investigated. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, November i9th, 1862. 
Gen. G. W. Smith, Acting Secretary of War : 

DEAR SIR : His Excellency Governor Vance received a com 
munication from your immediate predecessor, the Honorable George 
\V. Randolph, in which he states that "in consequence of the 



7 6 LIFE OF VANCE. 

threatened attacks upon the railroad connections in the eastern por 
tions of North Carolina and Virginia, and our inability at present to 
withdraw from the army of Northern Virginia reinforcements suffi 
ciently large to secure those connections, it is considered very 
important to complete the Danville and Greensboro connection as 
speedily as possible," and asking him to aid in procuring hands to 
work upon that improvement. 

His Excellency instructs me to say that he will most cheerfully 
give whatever assistance he can consistently with his sense of duty to 
further the speedy completion of this work, but at the same time he 
hopes it will not be improper to remark that the government should at 
all hazards, and at all times, defend our present railroad connections 
at Weldon. That section of the country is of the utmost importance 
to the government, abounding in abundant supplies for the army. 

His Excellency must decline authorizing or recommending the 
Legislature to authorize the drafting slaves for this purpose. Vast 
numbers of slaves are leaving our eastern counties, threatened with 
invasion, and their owners are anxiously seeking employment. 

The contractors upon the work can, without the intervention of 
the public authorities, obtain the most abundant supply of hands, if 
they will offer fair and remunerative prices. 

Yours very respectfully, DAVID A. BARNES, 

Aid-de-Camp to the Governor. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, January 26th, 1863. 
Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va. 

SIR : I had the honor to complain to His Excellency, the Presi 
dent and your immediate predecessor, Mr. Randolph, in regard to the 
manner of enforcing the Conscript Act in this State, and of disposing 
of the men in regiments, during the month of October last. I am 
compelled again, greatly to my regret, to complain of the appoint 
ment of Col. August as commandant of conscripts for North Carolina, 
who has recently assumed command here. 

Merely alluding to the obvious impropriety and bad policy of 
wounding the sensibilities of our people by the appointment of a 
citizen of another State to execute a law, both harsh and odious, I 
wish to say, sir, in all candor that it smacks of discourtesy to our people 
to say the least of it. Having furnished as many (if not more) troops 
for the service of the Confederacy, as any other State, and being, as I 
was assured by the President, far ahead of all others in the number 
raised under the conscript law, the people of this State have justly 
felt mortified in seeing those troops commanded by citizens of other 
States, to the exclusion of the claims of their own. This feeling is in 
creased and heightened into a very general indignation when it is thus 
officially announced that North Corolina has no man in her borders 
fit to command her own conscripts, though scores of her noblest sons 



LIFE OF VANCE. 77 

and best officers are now at home with mutilated limbs and shattered 
constitutions. 

Without the slightest prejudice against Colonel August or the 
State from which he comes, I protest against his appointment as both 
unjust and impolitic. Having submitted in silence to the many, very 
many acts of the Administration, heretofore, so calculated to wound 
that pride which North Carolina is so pardonable for entertaining, it 
is my duty to inform you that if persisted in, the appointment of 
strangers to all the positions in this State and over her troops, will 
cause a feeling throughout her whole borders, which it is my great 
desire to avoid. 

Trusting, sir, that you can appreciate the feelings of our people, 
and will pardon the frankness with which I have spoken, I have the 
honor to remain, Most respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, February 3d, 1863. 
General W. H. C. Whiting: 

DEAR SIR : His Excellency Governor Vance has received your 
communication calling his attention to the fact of the issuing of writs 
of habeas corpus to bring the cases of minors before courts in distant 
parts of the State, and he directs me to say in reply that your letter 
contained the first intimation that such writs had been issued. 

The writ of habeas corpus is the common right of every man and 
he has neither the power or inclination to prevent the issuing of such 
process. Yours very respectfully, DAVID A. BARNES, 

Aid-de-Camp to the Governor. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, February i2th, 1863. 
Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War : 

SIR : I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your 
letter of the 4th instant, invoking the aid of the authorities of this 
State to procure labor for the completion of the Danville Railroad, 
and also asking my influence with the Legislature in securing the 
gauge of that road to correspond with that of the Virginia roads. 
The object is a most important one, and commends itself strongly to 
my favor. But under all circumstances I feel compelled to decline 
impressing slaves to aid in its completion. For many months past 
the eastern part of this State has been furnishing labor upon all the 
public works from Wilmington to Petersburg, and no less than twenty 
counties are so employing their slaves. In the region through which 
this road runs there are very few slaves, and the very existence of the 
people requires them to labor on their farms. 

In addition to the fact that this road is viewed with almost uni 
versal disfavor in the State, as entirely ruinous to many east of it, and 



7 IJFE OF VANCE. 

that the charter never could have been obtained but as a pressing war 
necessity, I feel it due to candor that I should add there exists a very 
general impression here that upon the completion of the Danville 
connection, as it is termed, the eastern lines of our roads would be 
abandoned to the enemy. How far this opinion does injustice to the 
War Department, I am not able to say. I merely state the fact. For 
these reasons, with the additional one that the road is being constructed 
by private contractors, I do not feel that I could be justified in forcing 
the labor of citizens upon it. I assure you I regret this exceedingly, 
not only on account of the importance of the work itself to our military 
operations, but also because it is exceedingly unpleasant for me to 
refuse to do anything whatsoever, which is requested by the Confed 
erate authorities, and regarded as important to the general cause. In 
regard to the gauge of the road, I have to say that the proposition to 
make it conform to the Virginia roads had been disposed of in the 
negative before yours was received. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, February 25th, 1863. 
Hon. J. A. Seddon, Secretary of War : 

SIR : I had the honor some three weeks or a month ago, to address 
you, respectfully asking the removal of a lot of broken down cavalry 
horses from the northwestern counties of this State, of General 
Jenkins command, which were devouring the substance of a people 
threatened with famine. I have not had the pleasure of receiving a 
reply to that letter. 

I beg leave to inform you that their depredations are still continued, 
and that they have become not only a nuisance but a terror to the 
community, and to enclose you a letter from Colonel Forkner, of 
the Seventy-Third North Carolina Militia, giving evidence of their 
behaviour. With every possible disposition to aid in the support of 
the army, I have the strongest reasons conceivable, the existence of 
my own people, for declining to permit these horses to remain in that 
section of the State. When the question of starvation is narrowed 
down to women and children on the one side and some worthless 
cavalry horses on the other, I can have no difficulty in making a choice. 

Unless they are removed soon, I shall be under the painful neces 
sity of calling out the militia of the adjoining counties and driving 
them from the State. I hope, however, to be spared such a proceed 
ing. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, February 27th, 1863. 
Brigadier General Davis, Knoxville, Tenn. 

GENERAL : In my last letter to you I referred to a report that a 



LIFE OF VANCE. 79 

number of prisoners taken on Laurel had been shot in cold blood, and 
expressed the hope it might not prove true. 

I fear, however, it is even worse than was first reported. I beg 
leave to ask your attention to the copy enclosed of a part of a letter 
from A. S. Merrimon, Esq., Attorney for the State in that district, and 
to respectfully request you to make inquiry into the truth of the 
statement therein with a view to proceedings against the guilty parties. 
Whilst expressing again my thanks for the prompt aid rendered by 
your command in quieting the troubles in that region, I cannot recon 
cile it to my sense of duty to pass by in silence such cruel and 
barbarous conduct as is alleged to have characterized a portion of them, 
and more especially as the officers mentioned are citizens of this State. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, February 28th, 1863. 
Judge Osborne, Charlotte, N. C. 

MY DEAR SIR : I am informed upon undoubted authority that 
there are quite a number of distilleries in operation in Lincoln and 
adjoining counties in open defiance of the law. People expect me to 
do everything now-a-days and have therefore called on me to enforce 
this law, and as there is no Solicitor for that district, I am compelled 
to call on you. It requires a prompt remedy. Will you please to issue 
bench warrants against the offenders, or take such other steps as to 
you may seem best to bring them sharp up and put a stop to these 
operations ? I would be greatly obliged. 

Very respectfully, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, February 28th, 1863. 
Honorable James A. Seddon, Secretary of War: 

SIR : Some six months since a disturbance occurred in Madison 
county, N. C., near the Tennessee border, by some disloyal persons 
capturing the little county town and seizing a lot of salt and other 
plunder. An armed force was promptly sent from Knoxville under 
command of General Davis to suppress the insurrection which was 
accomplished before the local militia could get there, though ordered 
out immediately. 

But in doing so, a degree of cruelty and barbarity was displayed, 
shocking and outrageous in the extreme, on the part of Lieutenant- 
Colonel J. A. Keith, Sixty-Fourth North Carolina Troops, who seems to 
have been in command and to have acted in this respect without orders 
from his superiors, so far as I can learn. I beg leave to ask you to 
read the enclosed letter (copy) from A. S. Merrimon, State s Attorney 
for that Judicial District, which you will perceive discloses a scene of 
horror disgraceful to civilization. I desire you to have proceedings 
instituted at once against this officer, who if the half be true, is a dis 
grace to the service and to North Carolina. 



80 LIFE OF VANCE. 

You may depend upon the respectability and fairness of Mr. 
Merrimon, who made an investigation officially by my order. I have 
also written General Davis. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, March 20th, 1863. 
Colonel T. P. August, Commanding Conscripts, Raleigh, N. C. 

COLONEL : I desire to have an understanding with the War 
Department in regard to the conscription of State officers. Applica 
tions are made to me almost every day to apply for the exemption or 
detail of such officers, and it is proper the matter should be denned. 

Zealous as I have been and continue to be in* the enforcement of 
the law, I cannot permit my own officers to be conscripted. The 
ground I shall assume is, that all State officers and employes neces 
sary to the operation of this government of which necessity I must 
judge shall not be interfered with by the enrolling officers, and any 
attempt to arrest such men will be resisted. 

This I deem not only necessary to the due administration of the 
government, but due to the rights and dignity of the sovereign State 
over whose destinies I have the honor to preside. 

If not authorized to decide in the premises yourself, I respectfully 
request that you lay the matter before the War Department. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, March 2ist, 1863. 
Honorable Jas. A. Seddon, Secretary of War : 

SIR : Yours of the yth instant, enclosing letters from Lieutenant 
Colonel Cook and General Jones, in relation to impressment of forage 
by a detachment of General Jenkins Cavalry has been received. I 
am sorry to see that the charge of impressment is denied upon the 
authority of "Sergeant Hale" the concurrent testimony of the citizens 
of about twenty counties, with at least fifty letters to that effect in 
my office would seem to be sufficient to establish a fact of gen 
eral notoriety. These men were in several detachments operating 
in as many different counties, and Sergeant Hale hardly could know 
what they were all doing at the same 1 time. Their method was to go 
to a farmer s house and tell him they wanted corn at $1.50 per bushel, 
and if he did not sell they would take it. In some instances their 
Quartermasters attended public sales and publicly notified the assem 
blage (most of them families of absent soldiers) that they need not,bid 
for the corn, that they were determined to have it. Yielding where 
resistance would have been useless, they (the cavalry) took the corn at 
such prices as they saw proper to pay. And this is not impressment ? 
I beg leave also to assure you that the imputations indulged in by 
General Jones and Lieutenant Colonel Cook against the loyalty of the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 8 1 

people of that region (I suppose also on the authority of Sergeant 
Hale) are entirely without foundation in fact. The refusal to take 
Confederate money, (if such was the case) originated solely in the fact 
that they did not have the corn to sell. Neither North Carolina money 
or gold could buy an article which was not in the country. That 
country, to my personal knowledge, may safely challenge any similar 
region in the South to show a better muster roll in the army. But that 
is not the matter at issue. I complain that a large body of broken 
down cavalry horses are in North Carolina eating up the subsistence 
of the people in a region desolated by drouth and reduced to the verge 
of starvation, impressing it at prices about one-half the market rate; 
the people or the horses must suffer. I ask for the removal of the 
horses. Is it denied or refused ? That is the question. 

I beg leave to disabuse your mind of the impression which it seems 
to entertain, that I objected to these impressments because they were 
for Virginia Cavalry. By no means. I did not term them such, at 
least did not so intend to term them. I have no prejudice against the 
troops from any State engaged in defending the Common Cause. But 
I am unwilling to see the bread taken from the mouths of women and 
children for the use of any troops, when those troops might be easily 
removed to regions where there is corn to sell. And I earnestly 
request once more that they be so removed. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

RALEIGH, N. C., March 2ist, 1863. 
Honorable James A. Seddon, Secretary of War : 

SIR : I beg leave to call your attention to the statements contained 
in the enclosed letter from Lieutenant F. P. Axby, a respectable young 
soldier, resident of Cherokee county, North Carolina. From it you 
will perceive that his brother and two other citizens of that county 
have been arrested .by a parcel of armed soldiers from Georgia, and 
carried off no one knows where or why. My object is to ascertain why 
these citizens of North Carolina were so arrested, what for, by whose 
authority, where they are taken to, and what is proposed to be done 
with them ? Presuming that the whole thing has been done without 
your knowledge, I ask these questions of you because you have the 
means of obtaining answers to them which I have not. As such pro 
ceedings cannot be tolerated for a moment, I have issued orders 
pendente lite to the State officers of that county to call out the militia 
and shoot the first man who attempts to perpetrate a similar outrage 
without the authority of the marshal of that district. 

Hoping that you may find leisure to answer soon, I am, sir, with 
every sentiment of respect and regard, 

Your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

RALEIGH, March 25th, 1863. 
Honorable James A. Seddon, Richmond, Va. 

General Pillow has sent a detachment of cavalry into Western 



82 LIFE OF VANCE. 

North Carolina to enroll and arrest conscripts without the shadow of 
law and in defiance of the proper authorities. 

Please order it stopped through Colonel Collart, Greenville, 
Tenn., or there will be resistance and bloodshed. 

Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, April 4th, 1863. 
His Excellency John Gill Shorter, Montgomery, Ala. 

SIR : I am in receipt of your favor of the 3ist, ultimo, in relation 
to procuring a supply of cloth for the cadets of your University from 
the factories of this State. 

I sincerely regret that it is impossible for me to grant your request 
without doing injustice to our own soldiers. This State, as you are 
aware, clothes her own troops by contract with the Quartermaster 
General, and we are now so far behind, and our soldiers are in such 
need, that it requires much more than the whole product of our mills 
to supply them. 

Under such circumstances I feel confident you will appreciate the 
necessity which compels me to decline. 

Very respectfully, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, April yth, 1863. 
Honorable James A. Seddon, Secretary of War: 

DEAR SIR : I am in receipt of yours of the 2d, inclosing copy of 
General Donelson s dispatch, etc. 

There is no need of troops at Asheville, there being no disorder 
there, except that which is threatened by the illegal seizure of con 
scripts by General Pillow s Independent Conscript Bureau. All that 
is necessary there, is to order General Pillow s men to cease their 
operations and permit the regular enrolling officers to perform their 
duties. 

In the adjoining counties of Yancey, Mitchell and Watauga the 
tories and deserters are in strong force, and the force ordered to Ashe 
ville should be sent there at once. 

Very respectfully, etc., Z. B. VANCE. 

RALEIGH, N. C., May 22d, 1863. 
Hon, Jas. A. Seddon, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va. 

SIR : Your several communications in regard to recent decisions 
of Chief Justice Pearson in the cases of Irwin and Mitchell, under the 
operations of the act of conscription, have been received and duly 
considered. 

I do most sincerely regret that such a state of things should exist 
as a serious and important difference between the authorities of this 
State and those of the Confederacy, on a matter touching so vitally 



LIFE OF VANCE. 83 

the efficiency of the army and the public defence. I feel, however, 
that I have no option left me as to the course I must pursue. With 
out pretending to controvert the arguments which you furnish me, 
and with my high respect for the eminent source from which it is 
derived, I beg leave to say that, according to my conception of duty, 
my powers, as an executive officer, are absolutely bound by the judi 
cial decisions of the State courts ; that it is not competent for me to 
review them. And in the absence of a court having a superior and 
appellant jurisdiction deciding to the contrary, that they are and 
must of necessity be to me the supreme law of the land. There can 
be no doubt of this, it seems to me, let the argument go as it may. 
Having stated the plain path of duty which I am bound to pursue, I 
desire, nevertheless, to assure you of the great concern I feel in the 
issue, and of my earnest wish to assist the War Department in main 
taining the efficiency of our armies and of avoiding conflict with the 
local authorities. To this end I shall endeavor to get an authorita 
tive decision of the Supreme Court of this State, now in session in this 
city, in regard to the question of jurisdiction involved ; and whilst 
declining to admit that the construction of an executive bureau must 
take precedence of the decisions of the supreme judicial tribunals of 
a State, in the matter touching the liberty of a citizen, I yet would 
gladly receive any suggestions as to the means of avoiding such alter 
native, and of settling the difficulty temporarily or permanently. 

I shall take an early opportunity of communicating with you 
again on this subject. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, May 23d, 1863. 
Honorable James A. Seddon, Secretary of War : 

SIR : Among the many persons illegally arrested in Cherokee 
county, North Carolina, by order of Colonel Lee, at Atlanta, Georgia, 
on charges of disloyalty, were G. L. D. McLelland and James M. 
Grant, both beyond the age of forty years. Nothing appearing against 
them they were told that if they did not volunteer in the army they 
should be placed in prison and kept there. From the utterly out 
rageous and illegal manner in which they were seized and carried 
away from their homes, they were justifiable in supposing that there 
was no longer any protection in the country for the personal liberty of 
the citizens, and they yielded to this tyranny and entered Colonel 
Folk s battalion in East Tennessee. They have asked for their dis 
charge, on the ground that they were not subject to conscription, and 
were forced to enter the army under threats of imprisonment. Fair 
ness, justice and self-respect on the part of the government demand it 
should be granted, as it is certainly not intended to recruit the army 
by entrapping the citizens. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE, 



84 LIFE OF VANCE. 

The late Governor Fowle, in a speech delivered in 
Raleigh on June 29th, 1876, said " during the war a num 
ber of citizens had been discharged from custody of 
Confederate officers on habeas corpus proceedings by 
judges, and had been again arrested by the military officers 
of the Confederate government, upon the idea that might 
made right and armed men dictated law, North and South. 
There was one man in power who even amid the angry 
clash of arms remembered the lessons of liberty taught 
by the lamented Swain and the early fathers, and dared to 
maintain them. That man was Zebulon B. Vance. In 
defiance of the military power, he issued an order com 
manding the whole militia force of the State to resist the 
arrest of any citizen of the State who had been discharged 
by the courts or judges. That order was as follows :" 

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, 

ADJUTANT GENERAI/S OFFICE, RALEIGH, May 26th, 1863. 
General Order No. 9. Militia officers are ordered not to arrest 
any man as a conscript or deserter who may have been discharged by 
writ of habeas corpus tried before any judge of the Superior or Su 
preme Court of this State. They are further ordered to resist any 
such arrest upon the part of any person not authorized by the legal 
process of a court having jurisdiction in such cases. 

By order of the Governor. DANIEL G. FOWLE, 

Adjutant General. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, July 6th, 1863. 
His Excellency President Davis : 

DEAR SIR : A great deal of harm has been done, and much dis 
satisfaction excited by the appointment of citizens of other States to 
offices and positions here that should of right be filled by our own 
people. 

The last appointment by the Quartermaster General of a Colonel 
Bradford, of Norfolk, Virginia, to the Chief Collectorship of the tax 
in kind for this State, has given almost universal offense, and I may 
be excused for saying very justly. No objection that I am aware of is 
made to him except that he is a citizen of another State, and we all 
feel that the offices so purely local as this, we have a right to demand, 
should be bestowed upon our own people. 

I feel it my duty, out of respect to my State and people, as well as 
to remove any cause so far as may be, for dissatisfaction, to bring this 



LIFE OF VANCE. 85 

matter to your attention, and ask that you make a different appoint 
ment. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, July 6th, 1863. 
His Excellency President Davis : 

DEAR SIR: Last week the steamer " Advance," purchased by this 
State in Europe, arrived at Wilmington with cargo of soldiers cloth 
ing. I went down to visit her, and before going on board, I obtained 
the permission of the commissioners of navigation and the military 
authorities (she being below town on a sand bar) in compliance with 
quarantine regulations. On returning to the wharf Lieutenant Colonel 
Thornburg, who was in command of the town, refused to permit me to 
land, alleging that the regulations were violated. Upon showing him 
the permission of the commissioner, and assuring him of the assent of 
General Whiting, and remonstrating with him in person, he replied 
that he " did not care for Governor Vance nor Governor Jesus Christ," 
that I "should not come off that boat for fifteen days," and accord 
ingly placed a guard on the wharf with orders to shoot any one 
attempting to get off. I was so detained until the chairman of the 
board of commissioners came to my relief, and lost the train for 
Raleigh. Having thus deliberately, wilfully and without excuse, 
inflicted a gross insult upon the people of North Carolina, through 
her Chief Magistrate, in their name I demand his removal from the 
State, and that he be no more placed in command of her troops. If it 
be deemed indispensable that North Carolina soldiers should be com 
manded by Virginians, I should regret to see the Old Dominion retain 
all her gentlemen for her own use, and furnish us only her blackguards. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, July 28th, 1863. 
Hon.J.A. Seddon, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va. 

I beg leave to suggest most respectfully the propriety of your for 
bidding positively the officers of the government engaging in specula 
tions on private account. Many of them have been engaged in it here 
to the great detriment of the community and the public service. 

In addition to the temptation it offers for the misapplication of the 
public funds, it is corrupting in its tendencies, assists in upholding 
prices, and excites universal prejudice in the community. It should 
be absolutely prohibited, in my opinion. Pardon me. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

RALEIGH, September loth, 1863. 
President Davis, Richmond : 

A Georgia. Regiment, Benning s Brigade, entered this city last 
night at 10 o clock and destroyed the office of the Standard newspaper. 



86 LIFE OF VANCE. 

This morning a mob of citizens destroyed the office of the State 
Journal, in retaliation. Please order immediately that troops passing 
through here shall not enter the city. If this is not done the most 
frightful consequences may ensue. 

Respectfully, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, September nth, 1863. 
His Excellency Jefferson Davis, Richmond, Va. 

MY DEAR SIR : You have received by telegram before this, in 
formation of the riot occurring in this city. It will enable you to see 
what a mine I have been standing on, and what a delicate and embar 
rassing situation mine is. I am now trembling to see its effects upon 
the country, though I am greatly in hopes that the mob of citizens 
which destroyed the office of the State Journal will act as a counter 
irritant, and help to allay excitement, the damage being equal to both 
parties. 

But, sir, the country is in a dangerous excitement and it will 
require the utmost skill and tact to guide it through safely and honor 
ably. I beg again to impress you with the importance of sustaining 
me in every essential particular and of heeding my suggestions about 
men and things in North Carolina, ^concerning which I spoke to you 
in Richmond. 

The soldiers who originated the mob belonged to Benning s Brig 
ade and were led by their officers, several of whom I saw in the crowd, 
but heard none of their names, except a Major Shepherd. I have also 
reasons for believing it was done with a knowledge and consent of 
General Benning, as he remarked to a gentleman an hour or two pre 
vious, that his men had threatened it. During its continuance he 
could not be found, a messenger sent by me to his supposed quarters 
at the depot was refused admission to him, and although he had ample 
opportunity after the occurrence to have seen or written to me dis 
claiming this outrage upon the honor and peace of North Carolina, he 
did not do so. 

As it is my intention to enforce the laws rigidly against all citizens 
who participated in the second mob, so I feel it my duty to demand 
that punishment may be inflicted on the officers who assisted or coun 
tenanced the first. Should this not be done, I shall feel it my duty to 
demand the persons of these officers of the State of Georgia, to answer 
the demands of justice. 

I feel very sad in the contemplation of these outrages. The dis 
tance is quite short to either anarchy or despotism, when armed 
soldiers, led by their officers, can with impunity outrage the laws of a 
State. A few more such exhibitions will bring the North Carolina 
troops home to the defense of their own State and her institutions. I 
pray you to see that it does not occur again. Should any newspaper 
in the State commit treason, I would have its editor arrested, and 



LIFE OF VANCE. 87 

tried by the laws which many of us yet respect. I thank you for your 
prompt order by telegraph to Major Pierce, concerning the passage of 
troops through this city. They are now being enforced and peace can 
be preserved if they are rigidly obeyed. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RICHMOND, VA., September 15th, 1863. 
Governor Z, B. Vance, Raleigh, N. C. 

MY DEAR SIR : Your two communications of the nth instant 
have been received. Upon the receipt of your telegram informing me 
that the measures taken to put an end to the disturbances in Ral 
eigh had not proven effective, orders were issued which it is hoped 
will be sufficient to prevent further disorders. 

I have referred to the Secretary of War your statement respecting 
particular officers alleged to have been concerned in the riot, and the 
matter will receive prompt attention. 

Very respectfully and truly yours, JEFFERSON DAVIS. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, December 2ist, 1863. 
Hon. Jas. A. Seddon, Secretary of War : 

DEAR SIR : I desire to call your attention to an evil which is 
inflicting great distress upon the people of this State, and contributing 
largely to the public discontent. I allude to illegal seizures of property 
and other depredations of an outrageous character by detached bands 
of troops chiefly cavalry. The department, I am sure, can have no 
idea of the extent and character of this evil. It is enough in many 
cases to breed a rebellion in a loyal county against the Confederacy, 
and has actually been the cause of much alienation of feeling in many 
parts of North Carolina. It is not my purpose now to give instances 
and call for punishment of the offenders that I do to their command 
ing officers, but to ask if some order or regulation cannot be made for 
the government of troops on detached service, the severe and un 
flinching execution of which might not check this stealing, pilfering, 
burning, and sometimes murderous conduct. 

I give you my word that in North Carolina it has become a griev 
ance, intolerable, damnable, and not to be borne ! If God Almighty 
had yet in store another plague worse than all others which he 
intended to have let loose on the Egyptians in case Pharaoh still 
hardened his heart, I am sure it must have been a regiment or so of 
half armed, half disciplined Confederate cavalry ! Had they been 
turned loose on Pharoah s subjects with or without an impressment 
law, he would have become so sensible of the anger of God, that he 
never would have followed the children of Israel to the Red Sea. No, 
sir, not an inch ! ! Cannot officers be reduced to the ranks for per 
mitting this ? Cannot a few men be shot for perpetrating these 



88 LIFE OF VANCE. 

outrages, as an example ? Unless something can be done, I shall be 
compelled in some sections to call out my militia and levy actual war 
against them. I beg your early and earnest attention to this matter. 
Very respectfully yours, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, December 3Oth, 1863. 
His Excellency President Davis : 

MY DEAR SIR : After a careful consideration of all the sources of 
discontent in North Carolina, I have concluded that it will be perhaps 
impossible to remove it except by making some effort at negotiation 
with the enemy. The recent action of the Federal House of Represen 
tatives, though meaning very little, has greatly excited the public 
hope that the Northern mind is looking towards peace. I am promised 
by all men who advocate this course that if fair terms are rejected it 
will tend greatly to strengthen and intensify the war feeling, and will 
rally all classes to a more cordial support of the government. And, 
although our position is well known, as demanding only to be let alone, 
yet it seems to me that for the sake of humanity, without having any 
weak or improper motives attributed to us, we might with propriety 
constantly tender negotiations. In doing so we would keep con 
spicuously before the world a disclaimer of our responsibility for the 
great slaughter of our race, and convince the humblest of our citizens 
who sometimes forget the actual situation that the government is 
tender of their lives and happiness, and would not prolong their suffer 
ings unnecessarily one moment. Though statesmen might regard 
this as useless, the people will not, and I think our cause will be 
strengthened thereby. I have not suggested the method of these negotia 
tions or their terms, the effort to obtain peace is the principal matter. 

Allow me to beg your earnest consideration of this suggestion. 
Very respectfully yours, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, December 3ist, 1863. 
Honorable James A. Scddon, Secretary of War, Richmond, I/a. 

DEAR SIR : I learn that large distilleries are in operation at 
Charlotte and Salisbury in this State, making spirits of the tithe grain 
by order of the War Department. Upon application to the office of 
Maj. Badham, chief collector of tithe for this State, I learn that he has 
orders to deliver 30,000 bushels of grain to the distilleries for this 
purpose. In addition to the many and weighty reasons which could 
be urged against the abstraction of this much bread from the army of 
the poor, I beg to inform you that the laws of this State positively 
forbid the distillation of any kind of grain within its borders under 
heavy penalties. It will, therefore, be my duty to interpose the arm 
of civil law to prevent and punish this violation thereof, unless you 
will order it to cease. It seems to me if spirits are so absolutely requisite 



LIFE OF VANCE. 89 

to the Medical Department, that grain sufficient might be found in re 
mote and plentiful districts, and leave for the use of the people every 
grain which is accessible. Be this as it may, I am sure you will agree 
with me in saying that no person can under authority of the Confed 
erate Government violate State laws with impunity. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, January yth, 1864. 
Honorable James A. Seddon : 

DEAR SIR : Your dispatch of the 6th asking me not to object to 
making the steamer "Don" conform to the regulations of the Con 
federate authorities in regard to transporting government cotton, 
requires a more detailed reply than I can transmit by telegraph. 

I have now at Bermuda and on the way there eight or ten cargoes 
of supplies of the first importance to the army and the people, con 
sisting chiefly of some 40,000 blankets, 40,000 pairs of shoes, large 
quantities of army cloth, leather, 112,000 pairs of cotton cards, ma 
chinery and findings to refit twenty-six of our principal cotton and 
wollen factories, dye stuffs, lubricating oils, etc. In addition to which 
I have made large purchases of bacon. Knowing that our steamer 
could not bring these cargoes in before spring, at which time I antici 
pate the closing of the port, if not sooner, and that the risk was 
increasing daily, I sold one-half of the State s steamer "Advance" 
and purchased of Messrs. Collie & Co. one-fourth interest in four 
steamers, the " Don " and the " Hansa " and two others now building, 
for the purpose of hurrying these supplies in. The terms of sale give 
the State one-fourth the outward cargo and the whole of the inward, 
nothing being carried for speculators whatever. 

The " Hansa," which recently left Wilmington, not having coal 
enough to take her to Bermuda, where my freight is, was instructed 
to load at Nassau with Confederate bacon, so determined am I, that 
the whole capacity of these steamers should be employed for the public 
good. In return for this Messrs. Collie & Co. did expect they would 
be relieved from the burden of giving one-third of her outward capacity 
to the Confederate Government and I did also. Should one-third be 
given to the Confederacy and one-fourth to the State outward and to 
the latter the whole of the return cargo, I submit that it would amount 
to a prohibition of the business; neither would it comport with justice 
or sound policy. 

It is a little remarkable to me, that the entire importing operations 
of this State, which have been so successful and so beneficial to the 
cause, seems to have met with little else than downright opposition 
rather than encouragement from the Confederate Government. In its 
very inception, Mr. Mason, our commissioner in England laid the 
stroitg hand on my agents and positively forbade them putting a bond 
on the market for five months after they landed in England. Then 



90 LIFE OF VANCE. 

came vexatious aud irritating quarantine delays at ^Wilmington (en 
forced by the military, not the civil authorities) ; though our foreign 
depot was at great cost and inconvenience made at Bermuda instead 
of Nassau to avoid this. Then seizing of my coal at Wilmington oc 
curred, and denial of the facilities to get it from the mines, etc. It 
was not until after my decided remonstrance to you in November, that 
I met with anything else than an evident hostility in the operations 
of my steamers. 

And now if the regulations in regard to private blockade-runners 
are enforced, I think it highly probable that this line will be stopped 
entirely, as the profits will scarcely justify the risk. A great deal of 
this I am aware is attributable to the want of discretion on the part of 
subordinate officers, as well as the want of foresight displayed in the 
oppression of every industrial interest of the country by army officers. 
Yet I have had it to contend with. After this statement I leave it 
with you to say whether the regulations referred to shall be inforced. 
If they are I shall certainly countermand the sailing of the two other 
steamers now expected, and would suggest for the benefit of the De 
partment that it would be much better to purchase than to seize an 
interest in the property of strangers who are engaged in bringing us 
indispensable supplies through a most rigorous and dangerous block 
ade. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE; OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE; DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, January 2oth, 1864. 
His Excellency Horatio Seymour, Governor of New York : 

SIR : There are quite a number of the soldiers of this State, prison 
ers of war in the United States, confined principally within your State. 
I learn that they are suffering greatly for want of winter clothing and 
that the regulations of your Government do not forbid their purchas 
ing if they had the means. Presuming upon your known humanity, 
I have ventured to enclose to you by flag of truce three sterling bills 
of exchange drawn by Theo. Andreae upon Messrs. A. Collie & Co., 
17 Leadenhall street, London, amounting to ^1200 (twelve hundred 
pounds sterling) which I desire you will have expended in the pur 
chase of the most necessary clothing for the prisoners of war from 
North Carolina in whatever prison confined. I presume at the quoted 
rates of exchange the bills will produce near nine thousand dollars. 
In venturing to ask you to take so much trouble upon your hands, I 
feel sure that the suggestion of humanity and the common courtesy 
existing between honest enemies will be a sufficient apology. I can 
but hope that you will not hesitate to allow me an opportunity of re 
ciprocating your kindness should it become possible for me to do so. 
I am, sir, with proper respect, 

Your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 91 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, February gth, 1864. 
His Excellency Jefferson Davis : 

MY DEAR SIR : Since receiving your letter of the 8th ultimo, to 
which it was my intention to have replied before this, reports have 
reached me from Richmond, which if true, would render my reply 
unnecessary. I hear with deep regret that a bill is certainly expected 
to pass the Congress suspending the writ of habeas corpus, throughout 
the Confederacy, and that certain arrests will immediately be made in 
North Carolina. Of course, if Congress and your Excellency be re 
solved upon this, as the only means of repressing dissatisfaction in 
this State, it would be a mere waste of time for me to argue the 
matter. And yet I should not hold myself guiltless of the consequences 
which I fear will follow did I not add yet another word of expostula 
tion to the many which I have already spoken. If the bill referred 
to, about which I can form no opinion until I see it, be strictly within 
the limits of the Constitution, I imagine the people of this State will 
submit to it, so great is their regard for law. If it be adjudged, on the 
contrary, to be in violation of that instrument and revohitionary in 
itself, it will be resisted. Should it become a law soon, I earnestly 
advise you to be chary of exercising the power with which it will in 
vest you. Be certain to try at least for a while the moral effect of 
holding this power over the heads of discontented men before shock 
ing all worshippers of the common law throughout the world by 
hurling freemen into sheriffless dungeons for opinion sake. 

I do not speak this facetiously, or by way of a flourish, nor do I 
believe that as an enlightened lawyer and a Christian statesman you 
could feel any pleasure in the performance of such an ungracious 
task. I am, on the contrary, convinced that you believe it to be the 
only way to secure North Carolina in the performance of her obliga 
tions to her confederates. The misfortune of this belief is yours ; the 
shame will light upon those unworthy sons who have thus sought to 
stab their mother because she cast them off. If our citizens are left 
untouched by the arm of military violence, I do not despair of an ap 
peal to the reason and patriotism of the people at the ballot box. 
Hundreds of good and true men, now acting with and possessing the 
confidence of the party called conservatives, are at work against the 
dangerous movements for a Convention, and whilst civil law remains 
intact will work zealously and with heart. I expect myself to take 
the field as soon as the proprieties of my position will allow me, and 
shall exert every effort to restrain the revolutionary tendency of 
public opinion. Never yet, sir, have the people of North Carolina re 
fused to listen to their public men if they show right and reason on 
their side. I do not fear to trust the issue now to these potent 
weapons in the hands of such men as will wield them next summer. 
I do fear to trust bayonets and dungeons. I endeavored soon after 



92 LIFE OF VANCE. 

my accession to the Chief Magistracy of North Carolina to make you 
aware of both the fact of disaffection in this State and the cause of it. 
In addition to the many letters to you, I have twice visited Richmond 
expressly to give you information on this point. The truth is, as I 
have often said before, that the great body of our people have been 
suspected by their government, perhaps because of the reluctance 
with which they gave up the old Union, and I know you will pardon 
me for saying that this consciousness of their being suspected has 
been greatly strengthened by what seemed to be a studied exclusion 
of the anti-secessionists from all the more important offices of the 
government, even from those promotions in the army which many of 
them had won with their blood. Was this suspicion just ? and was 
there sufficient effort made to disprove that it existed, if it really did 
not exist, at Richmond ? Discussion, it is true, has been unlimited 
and bitter, and unrelenting criticism upon your administration had 
been indulged in, but where and when have our people failed you in 
the battle, or withheld either their blood or their vast resources ? To 
what exaction have they not submitted, what draft upon their patriot 
ism have they yet dishonored ? Conscription, ruthless and unrelenting, 
has only been exceeded in the severity of its execution by the impress 
ment of property, frequently entrusted to men unprincipled, dishonest 
and filled to overflowing with all the petty meanness of small minds 
dressed in a little brief authority. The files of my office are filled 
with the unavailing complaints of outraged citizens to whom redress 
is impossible. Yet they have submitted, and so far performed with 
honor their duty to their country, though the voice of these very 
natural mumurers is set down to disloyalty. I do not hold you respon 
sible for all the petty annoyances, "insolence of office," under which 
our people lose heart and patience ; even if I did, I cannot forget that 
it is my country that I am serving, not the rulers of that country. I 
make no threats. I desire only with singleness of purpose and sin 
cerity of heart to speak those words of soberness and truth which may, 
with the blessings of God, best subserve the cause of my suffering coun 
try. Those words I now believe to be the advice herein given to refrain 
from exercising the extraordinary power about to be given you by the 
Congress, at least, until the last hope of moral influence being suffi 
cient, is extinct. Though you express a fear in your last letter that 
my continued efforts to conciliate were injudicious, I cannot yet see 
just cause for abandoning them. Perhaps I am unduly biased in my 
judgment concerning a people whom I love and to whom I owe so 
much. Though I trust not. Our success depends not on the numbers 
engaged to support our cause, but upon their zeal and affection. Hence 
I have every hope in persuading, not one \n forcing, the sympathies of 
an unwilling people. 

The Legislature of this State meets next May. Two-thirds are 
required by our Constitution to call a Convention. This number can- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 93 

not be obtained ; a bare majority vote for submitting the proposition 
will, in my opinion, be impossible. Under no circumstances can a con 
vention be assembled in North Carolina during the present year, in 
my judgment, and during next summer the approaching State elec 
tions will afford an opportunity for a full and complete discussion of 
all the issues ; the result of which I do not fear if left to ourselves. If 
there be a people on earth given to the sober second thought, amen 
able to reason and regardful of their plighted honor, I believe that I 
may claim that it is the people of North Carolina. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, April igth, 1864. 
Hon James A. Seddon, Secretary of War : 

DEAR SIR : I bring to your attention the case of David Mahaley, 
a private in Company F, Fifty-Seventh Regiment North Carolina 
Troops. Mr. Mahaley was discharged by Judge Pearson at Salisbury 
on the 22d of February last, under a writ of habeas corpus, and his is 
one of those cases referred to in your letter to me, as being permitted 
by the government to be discharged until the Supreme Court of North 
Carolina shall decide the case. There is no difference in Mahaley s 
case and all the others then discharged. Enclosed is a statement from 
Governor Bragg that Mahaley ought to be returned. Under this state 
of facts, I respectfully demand the immediate discharge of David 
Mahaley. David Mahaley was arrested in defiance of this discharge 
and in opposition to your letter to me on this subject. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 

RALEIGH, December 6th, 1864. 
Honorable James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va. 

I have to call your attention again to a violation of the rights of 
citizens of this State in their arbitrary arrest by the military and trans 
portation beyond the State for impressment. Henry P. Retter, late a 
Surgeon in the Eighth North Carolina Troops, and a citizen of Cam- 
den county, N. C, was arrested a few days since by Colonel Gillead, 
commanding at Weldon, on suspicion of disloyalty and sent to Rich 
mond for incarceration. Without entering at all into the question of 
his guilt or innocence, I think I am clear in saying that such removal 
beyond the limits of this State is an infraction of his legal rights, and 
an infringement of the jurisdiction of North Carolina. In a letter ad 
dressed by yourself to me in January, 1863, responding to the demand 
of the Legislature of North Carolina for the return of one I. R. 
Graves, then held in Richmond on a charge of disloyalty, you admit 
ted fully the impropriety and illegality of arresting a citizen of this 
State and transporting him to Virginia. In speaking of the reasons 
in possession of the Department for supposing the said Graves a spy 



94 LIFE OF VANCE. 

you say : "As such (that is a citizen of North Carolina) while amen 
able to arrest as a spy on sufficient grounds, or even as a traitor, he 
could with no propriety or legality be removed from the State, but 
should be handed over to the appropriate civil or military in that 
State to be dealt with according to law;" and again, " that there can 
be neither prudence or justification for not promptly admitting the 
error committed by his removal and rectifying it by his immediate 
return and delivery under your Excellency s demand." Extremely 
gratified as I was at this prompt and full concession of the rights of 
North Carolina s citizens I have been constantly pained and irritated 
by an almost weekly repetition of the offence until it has become no 
longer tolerable. I have therefore respectfully to demand that the 
said Henry P. Retter be returned to the jurisdiction of North Carolina 
to be dealt with by due course of law, and to request that you will 
cause such orders to be issued to military commanders in North Caro 
lina as will in future prevent such arbitrary and illegal proceedings, 
so well calculated to disturb that harmony which should exist be 
tween the two governments. I am, sir, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Z. B. VANCE. 

The following incident, taken from a contemporary news 
paper, but fully vouched for, shows the extreme kindness 
of heart of the young Governor : 

During the war Isaac Rogers, of Wake, was appointed on a com 
mittee to issue provisions to the needy families of Confederate soldiers. 
An order of the magistrate prohibited the issuing of provisions to the 
wives and families of deserters. A Mrs. Thompson, wife of a deserter, 
applied for food. She was refused under the order, but told to see 
Governor Vance. Mrs. Thompson called on Governor Vance and 
represented her case, stated that her husband was a deserter, and so 
licited aid. Governor Vance gave her a letter to Mr. Rogers, requesting 
and instructing him to furnish Mrs. Thompson whatever supplies she 
required. When the Governor next saw Mr. Rogers he told him he had 
no authority of law for the order he had given him, but the woman was 
in distress ; that her husband being a deserter neither altered that fact 
nor abrogated the laws of humanity ; that the sins of the husband and 
father ought not to be visited on the wife and children, and if harm 
should come of the matter he, Vance, assumed the responsibility and 
would stand between Mr. Rogers and all harm in the premises. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 95 



CHAPTER VIII. 

HIS ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT. 

On His Thirty-Fifth Anniversary He Was Arrested at His Home in 
Statesville and Carried Under Guard to Salisbury Incidents of 
the Trip Anecdotes Stops in Salisbury Release of the Prisoner 
on His Parole of Honor to Report Next Morning Carried Thence 
by Train to Washington, D. C., and There Confined in the Old 
Capitol Prison in the Same Cell With Governor Letcher, of Vir 
ginia Incidents Prison Life Jokes Copies of Official Orders 
from President Johnson, General Grant and Others Final Re 
lease on Parole and Confinement to the State of North Carolina 
as His Prison Bounds. 

soon as the surrender was accomplished and the 
State was taken in charge by the military power of 
the United States, Governor Vance took up his residence 
temporarily in Statesville. His family consisted of his wife 
and four sons, the eldest nine years old and the youngest three. 
They occupied a house on West Main street, near the Col 
lege. There on May 13, 1865, which was his thirty-fifth 
anniversary, his house was surrounded early in the fore 
noon by a squadron of cavalry from Kilpatrick s command, 
and an order of arrest from the Secretary of War at Wash- 
ton was served on him while in his home with his wife 
and children and without the slightest previous notice. By 
arrangement with the officer in command it was agreed 
that they should leave the following morning. The ques 
tion of transportation arose. The railroad trains were not 
running and the squadron had only pack-horses. In the 
light of recent experiences the citizens were unwilling to 
entrust their vehicles and horses (what few were left) to 
the keeping of the Federal cavalry. But the difficulty was 
soon relieved by the generous offer of Mr. Samuel Witt- 
kowsky, a citizen of the town, who tendered his own con- 



96 I V IFE OF VANCE. 

veyance and his own services to drive it and the Governor 
to Salisbury. Mr. Wittkowsky, in a recent address before 
the Historical Society of Charlotte, gave the following ac 
count of the trip : 

We started next morning at about 9 o clock in the following 
order : Four men on each side of the buggy and the rest of the com 
mand divided in front and rear. Governor Vance was for a moment 
overcome and shed tears while we drove along in silence until about 
the edge of the town, when he turned to me, while wiping his eyes, 
and said : " This will not do ; I must not allow my feelings to unman 
me, but it is so hard to bear. I am not so much concerned about 
what may be in store for me, but my poor wife and little children 
they have not a cent of money to live on. And then poor old North 
Carolina. God knows what indignities she may yet be subjected to. 
Many a man in my position, having ships constantly running the 
blockade, would have feathered his nest by shipping cotton to Europe 
and placing the proceeds to his credit, and in fact, I was frequently 
urged to do so, but thank God, I did not do it. My hands are clean and 
I can face my people and say that I have not made money out of my posi 
tion." 

After going a distance of 12 or 15 miles we sat down by a spring 
and had lunch, several of the officers, by the Governor s invitation, 
shared the lunch with us. By this time the Governor had recovered 
his usual spirits and began to tell jokes and so gained on the soldiers 
that they nudged each other and said : " Why this rebel Governor is 
quite a jolly fellow." After riding about six miles on horse back (just 
for a change and rest) the Governor resumed his seat in the buggy and 
with not a single man on guard we drove on ahead of the column until 
within a mile or two of Salisbury when we stopped and waited for the 
escort to come up. The Governor addressing the commanding officer, 
said: "You are giving me a good opportunity to get away." To 
which the officer replied : " Governor, I know my man." Such was 
his magnetism over men. Starting out as he did, surrounded on all 
sides by guards, in a few hours he had gained their confidence so that 
they trusted him to go alone and out of sight. The officer in command 
then said : " Governor, we are nearing Salisbury, if you will give me 
your word of honor to present yourself to-morrow at the depot in time 
to take the train, I will not subject you to the indignity of marching 
you through town under guard. The Governor thanked him, and so 
we entered Salisbury and drove to Colonel Shober s house. The Gov 
ernor got out for a little while among his friends, to apprise them of 
his arrest and to consult with them, and also to borrow a little money, 
as he had none at all (and later in life, when speaking of the trip, he 
told me that 165.00 was all he could raise). The next morning I went 
to the depot to bid him good bye and found him surrounded by quite 



LIFE OF VANCE. 97 

a number of Federal officers, all as jolly as if the Governor and they 
had been old friends, starting on a pleasure trip. 

The distinguished prisoner was taken to Raleigh, and 
thence to Washington, D. C., under guard, and was there 
incarcerated in the Old Capitol Prison, on May 2oth. He 
was there kept in close confinement till the 5th day of 
July following, when he was released on parol. 

The Old Capitol Prison was on the hill northeast of the 
present Capitol, where the new Congressional Library 
building is located. Not a vestige of it remains. The 
superintendent of the prison at the time is still living in 
Washington, but is unable to recall any special incidents 
of the imprisonment except that Vance and John Letcher, 
ex-Governor of Virginia, were assigned to the same cell. 
This was on the first floor of the building, was small and 
contained a narrow iron bedstead for each prisoner and a 
chair apiece. Meals were sent from a restaurant, and 
were, of course, paid for by the prisoners. The superin 
tendent remembers also furnishing occasional supplies of 
whiskey and brandy, the latter being Governor L,etcher s 
favorite beverage. 

No cause was assigned for Vance s arrest. A diligent 
search of the records of the Old Capitol Prison and of the 
War Department of that period fails to disclose any inti 
mation of the cause of his arrest and imprisonment. The 
order for his arrest and the order for his release are alike 
silent. Nothing is said as to why he was arrested and 
nothing is said as to why he was discharged. It was sug 
gested to the writer while examining the records of the 
War Department that the order of arrest was probably 
given by Andrew Johnson to settle some old grudge he may 
have had against Vance, as they were both in Congress at 
the breaking out of the war, and were close neighbors 
during the war though on opposite sides. This suggestion 
is strengthened by, and may have been founded upon, the fact 
that the order of arrest came directly from President John- 



9 LIFE OF VANCE. 

son. But when it is remembered that nearly or quite all the 
other Governors of Southern States at the close of the war were 
likewise arrested and imprisoned and subsequently released 
on parole, the suggestion loses its force. Certain it is that 
for some reason a radical change of policy took place after 
the assassination of Lincoln and very probably because of 
that unfortunate tragedy. The officers of the Federal gov 
ernment were not only excited and exasperated by the 
event, but were also probably left in doubt as to the tem 
per and purposes of the Southern leaders, and it is charitable 
to assume that it was thought the public peace and safety 
would be better secured by imprisoning the Governors of 
the several States for a time, and thus effectually prevent 
the further prosecution of the war by guerilla parties or 
otherwise. As evidence of this sudden and radical change 
of policy, whatever the cause, General Sherman wrote to 
Secretary of War Stanton from Raleigh, N. C., on April 
1 5th, 1865, saying: "I have invited Governor Vance to 
return to Raleigh with the civil officers of the State. I 
have met ex-Governor Graham, Mr. Badger, Moore, Holden 
and others, all of whom agree that the war is over, and 
that the States of the South must resume their allegiance, 
subject to the Constitution and laws of Congress and that 
the military power of the South must submit to the 
national arms. This great fact admitted and the way to 
restoration is easy. I have invited Vance to return with as 
surance of protection and safety." 

This was understood to be Lincoln s method of recon 
struction. Unhappily for the Southern States and people, 
a very different policy was adopted shortly after his death. 

The following certified copies of records of the War 
Department, kindly furnished by Col. Ainsworth, Maj. 
Davis and other officers in charge, relate to the arrest, im 
prisonment and release of Governor Vance : 

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, May 8th, 1865. 
Lieutenant General U. S. Grant, Commanding Armies U. S. 

GENERAL : The President directs that Z. B. Vance, who has been 



LIFE OF VANCE. 99 

claiming to act as the Governor of North Carolina, be immediately 
arrested and sent under close guard to Washington. You will please 
issue orders to carry this direction into effect. 

Your obedient servant, EDWIN M. STANTON, 

Secretary of War. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., May nth, 1865, n o clock p. m. 
To Major General /. N. Schofield, Raleigh, N. C. 

By direction of the President you will at once arrest Zebulon B. 
Vance, late Rebel Governor of North Carolina, and send him to Wash 
ington under close guard, and acknowledge receipt. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant General. 

U. S. MILITARY TELEGRAPH, May isth, 1865. 

By Telegraph from Lexington to Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Camp 
bell, A. A. G. Department Virginia: 

Governor Vance has been arrested and will leave on 12 o clock 
train for General Cox s headquarters. J. KILPATRICK, 

Brevet Brigadier General. 

U. S. MILITARY TELEGRAPH, May 15th, 1865. 
By Telegraph from Greensboro to Major General J. M. Schofield, 

Commanding Department of North Carolina : 

Governor Vance leaves for Raleigh this p. m. on the cars under 
guard. J. D. COX, Major General Commanding. 

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, May 2oth, 1865. 
To Major General Augur, Commanding Department of Washington: 
SIR : The Secretary of War directs that you take into custody and 
keep securely in the Old Capitol Prison until further orders, the per 
son of Z. B. Vance, Rebel Governor of the State of North Carolina. 
I am, very respectfully, JAS. A. HARDIE, 

Brevet Brigadier General U. S. A. 
Old Capitol Prison, May 2oth, 1865. 

[ENDORSEMENT.] 
HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT WASHINGTON, 

TWENTY-SECOND ARMY CORPS, May 2oth, 1865. 

Respectfully referred to Colonel T. Ingraham, Provost Marshal, 
Defence North of the Potomac, for compliance with directions of the 
Honorable Secretary of War. By Command of Major General Augur, 

A. E. KING, A. A. G. 

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WASHINGTON, 
OFFICE OF PROVOST MARSHAL GENERAL, DEFENCES NORTH 

OF POTOMAC, WASHINGTON, D. C., May 2oth, 1865. 
Received of Lieutenant Spencer the person of Z. B. Vance, Rebel 
Governor of North Carolina. J. W. SHARP, 

Lieut, and A. A. D. C. 



100 LIFE OF VANCE. 

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON, 
PROVOST MARSHAL S OFFICE, WASHINGTON, May 2oth, 1865. 
To the Superintendent of the Old Capitol Prison : 

You will receive and confine in the prison under your charge, until 
further orders, the person of Z. B. Vance, Rebel Governor of State 
of North Carolina. Held for orders Secretary of War. To be kept se 
curely. By order of T. INGRAHAM, 

Colonel and Provost Marshal. 
J. W. SHARP, Lieut, and Adjutant. 

WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT GENERAL S OFFICE, 

WASHINGTON, July 5th, 1865. 
Major General Augur, Commanding Department of Washington: 

SIR : The President of the United States directs that Mr. Vance, 
of North Carolina, be released on giving his parole to leave Washing 
ton immediately and proceed to his home in North Carolina, and 
remain there subject to the order of the President. Acknowledge re 
ceipt and execution of this order. I am, sir, very respectfully, 
Your obedient servant, E. D TOWNSEND. 

Assistant Adjutant General. 
Release sent up to O. C. P. at 7:30 p. m., July 5th, 1865. 

HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF WASHINGTON, 
TWENTY-SECOND ARMY CORPS, WASHINGTON, D. C., July 5th, 1865. 
Respectfully referred to Colonel Ingraham, Provost Marshal Gen 
eral, Defence North of Potomac for the proper action. To be returned 
with report. By command of Major General Augur. 

R. CHANDLER, Assistant Adjutant General. 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, CITY OF WASHINGTON, 

OLD CAPITOL PRISON. 

I, Z. B. Vance, of Statesville, North Carolina, do hereby give my 
parole of honor that I will immediately leave the City of Washington, 
proceed to my home in North Carolina, and remain subject to the 
order of the President of the United States. Z. B. VANCE. 

Subscribed before me this sixth day of July, 1865. 

NEWTON T. COLBY, Lieut. Colonel Commanding. 

WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT GENERAL S OFFICE, 

WASHINGTON, December I4th, 1865. 

Brevet Major General T. H. Ruger, Commanding Department of 
North Carolina, Raleigh, N. C. 

SIR : By direction of the President the limits of Z. B. Vance, late 
Rebel Governor of North Carolina, are extended, on his parole, to the 
limits of the State of North Carolina, until further orders. 

Please inform Mr. Vance, and acknowledge the receipt of this 
communication. I am, sir, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant General. 



LIFE OF VANCE. IOI 

STATES VILLE, N. C., December 26th, 1865. 

I, Zebulon B. Vance, being in arrest by order of the President of 
the United States and being admitted to parole within the limits of 
the State of North Carolina, do hereby pledge my honor faithfully to 
observe the same and to surrender myself whenever required by his 
order. ZEBULON B. VANCE. 

PRISONERS OF STATE, JULY, 1865. 

Name, Z. B. Vance ; occupation, Governor of North Carolina ; 
residence, Raleigh, N. C. ; age, 35 ; where arrested, Statesville, 
N. C.; when, May i3th, 1865; committed by Colonel T. Ingraham; when, 
May 2oth, 1865 ; released by order General Augur, July 6th, 1865, on 
parole to go home and remain subject to President s order ; charges, 
etc., for orders Secretary of War. 

A great many reports as to Vance s capture obtained 
currency subsequently, and among them a statement from 
General Kilpatrick, of such an annoying character as to 
draw from Governor Vance the following caustic letter : 

CHARLOTTE, October i.3th, 1868. 
To the Editor of the New York World : 

I see by the public prints that General Kilpatrick has decorated 
me with his disapprobation before the people of Pennsylvania. He 
informs them, substantially, that he tamed me by capturing me arid 
riding me two hundred miles on a bareback mule. I will do him the 
justice to say that he knew that was a lie when he uttered it. 

I surrendered to General Schofield at Greensboro, N C., on the 
2d of May, 1865, who told me to go to my home and remain there, 
saying if he got any orders to arrest me he would send there for me. 
Accordingly, I went home and there remained until I was arrested on 
I3th of May, by a detachment of 300 cavalry, under Major Porter, of 
Harrisburg, from whom I received nothing but kindness and courtesy. 
I came in a buggy to Salisbury, where we took the cars. 

I saw no mule on the trip, yet I thought I saw an ass at the gen 
eral s headquarters ; this impression has since been confirmed. 

Respectfully yours, Z. B. VANCE. 



102 LIFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER IX. 

VANCE AS LAWYER. 

Witty Reply to Question on Examination for License Anecdote 
Locates and First Practices in Buncombe and Adjoining Counties 
" Passing the Judge " Locates in Charlotte After the War Able 
Bar His Erudition Estimate of Lord Brougham Method of 
Study Wonderful Memory Surprising Success in Getting Ver 
dicts Powerful Influence With Juries The Cause Artful as an 
Advocate His Style Temperament Disposition Amiability 
Kindness of Heart Cared Not for Graces of Style or Delivery 
Bold Propositions and Strong Statements Preferred Overwhelm 
ing in Repartee The Johnston Will Case The Maxwell Land 
Case Thrilling Incidents The Lexington Case Exciting Trial 
and Surprising Verdict Was the Terror of Judges Because of 
Disturbances Produced by His Jokes Judge Gilliam Compels Him 
to Speak in a Funny Case, the Ear-Biting Case The Union County 
Case The Icehour Case Other Cases, Incidents and Anecdotes 
Bouts With the Old County Courts Pathetic and Humorous. 



career of Vance as a lawyer was not continuous 
_ nor altogether very extended. His peculiar fitness 
for other pursuits interrupted his professional labors and 
called him away from them early in life, and again a few 
years after the war. From the time he left college in 1852 
till he was sent to the Legislature in 1854, he practiced 
law in Buncombe and the adjacent counties. From the 
very first he had plenty of cases and clients, and he at once 
took place in the front rank of a very able bar. His most 
surprising success was in winning verdicts. His personal 
charms, his popular manners, his jovial nature, his sportive 
and enthusiastic disposition, his inborn astuteness and 
rugged eloquence, together with his exhaustless flow of 
merriment and anecdote, made him almost irresistible 
before a jury, and gave him as great a reputation for get 
ting surprising verdicts as Lord Abinger ever enjoyed. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 103 

While never a methodical student, he fully appreciated the 
importance of a competent knowledge of the common law, 
as well as of current decisions. He knew Blackstone well 
and was not unfamiliar with Coke and other standard au 
thorities and commentaries. The following incident which 
occurred when he was being examined for license, (related 
by a classmate, W. H. Bailey) illustrates his tact and 
ready wit : Chief Justice Pearson asked him to give the 
definition of a contingent remainder. Vance gave it in 
the exact language of Blackstone. " Yes," replied Pearson, 
" that is Blackstone s definition, but what does Fearne say?" 
With perfect self-possession and without a moment s hesi 
tation, Vance replied : " If your honor please, I was so 
fully satisfied with the definition of the great master, that 
I did not care to examine any other authority." 

He was accustomed to tell the following story on him 
self relating to the early period of his practice. While 
attending court in one of the counties of his circuit, a 
group of men were discussing in the court yard the merits 
of the different lawyers who attended at that bar. Some 
said Woodfin was the best lawyer ; some thought Gaither 
the best ; some one and some another, and finally a large 
man with a small, sharp voice squeaked out: "Well, 
gintlew^ 7 ;/, I have noticed this little feller Vance, and if he 
kin git apast the jedge, he s about as good as any av em." 

After being relased from his imprisonment at the Old 
Capitol, Vance settled in Charlotte, and again entered into 
the practice of the law. Here he came in contact with a 
very able bar Wilson, Osborne, Boyden, Bailey, Guion 
and others. He also attended the courts at Lexington, 
Salisbury, Concord, Monroe, Lincolnton and Dallas. At 
these courts he met other very able lawyers, viz : Mc- 
Corkle, Craige, Clements, Gilmer, Leach, Settle, Bynum, 
Hoke, Ashe, Dargan and many others. He was at first, of 
course, somewhat rusty, especially as to the practice and 
modes of procedure. But he quickly and rapidly recuper- 



104 WFE OF VANCE. 

ated. He soon recovered his full knowledge of Blackstone, 
and would upon occasion quote, often with great merri 
ment, the quaint definitions and dog Latin, as he called it, 
of Lord Coke. He also had great admiration for Lord 
Brougham, and was fond of quoting from his opinions and 
speeches. And this admiration was not at all weakened 
by the well-known criticism of Erskine, who did not 
believe that any man who gave as much time as Brougham 
did to the study of astronomy, natural history, chemistry, 
mathematics, and even cookery, could possibly be a pro 
found lawyer, and remarked with stunning sarcasm : " If 
Brougham only knew a little law he would know a little 
of everything." Vance did not agree with Erskine, but 
believed that Lord Brougham, notwithstanding his varied 
attainments and his marvelous acquaintance with the 
sciences, also possessed a profound knowledge of law, and 
that he knew how, to a degree above almost any other Eng 
lishman, to make wise and effective use of that knowledge. 

In a lecture before the law class at Georgetown College, 
D. C., in 1883, he said : " The stories which are told of 
Lord Brougham well exemplify my idea of the accom 
plished lawyer. An instance is told of his trying a case 
involving an intricate question of mechanics wherein he 
displayed off hand so much knowledge of the subject as to 
utterly confound the court, the bar and the professional ex 
perts. Though Brougham disproved, to the extent of his 
example, the truth of the saying that conceit is the parent 
of idleness, in truth he was the most conceited of men and 
the most industrious. Lord Welborne is credited with say 
ing of him : ( I wish I was as cock-sure of anything as 
Brougham is everything. 

But from the very first Vance was at no great disadvan 
tage in contests with the ablest of his competitors. If he 
sometimes had trouble in passing the judge, he generally 
gave his opponents more trouble in passing the jury. If 
he was not as glib at the start in discussing pleadings and 




AGE ABOUT 36. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 105 

technicalities as some of the others, he generally came out 
ahead at the finish. His great power was with the juries. 
He had sincere admiration of the jury system and that fact 
shown conspicuously in all his jury speeches. He regarded 
the jury as the great bulwark of personal rights and as the 
fortress and shield of the weak and unfortunate. Sympa 
thy begets sympathy. His bearing towards the jury was 
always bland and respectful, and his style was easy, plain 
and for the most part colloquical rather than declamatory. 
He did not address them as inferiors, nor as a subordinate 
part of the machinery of the Court, but would put them on 
their manhood and independence, remind them that they 
were supreme in their own province and that the Court 
was as much bound to take their verdict as final in mat 
ters of fact as they were bound to accept the law from the 
Court. Hence he appealed to them as men capable of 
thinking and reasoning and as always willing to exercise 
their own judgment and their own volition in the perform 
ance of their duties. A keen, discriminating judge of 
human nature, he could generally tell by a juror s counte 
nance whether he was convinced or still doubting, and 
consequently knew how to avoid tiresome iteration or need 
less repetition. As Macaulay said of Addison, "there were 
no dregs in his wine. He regales after the fashion of the 
nabob who held that there was only one good glass in a 
bottle. As soon as we have tasted the first sparkling foam 
of an argument or jest, a fresh draught of nectar is put to 
our lips." He understood well the advantage of anticipat 
ing and taking the sting out of his adversary s argument, 
a faculty which he often employed with great skill and 
effectiveness. 

His manner and appearance were always engaging. 
As Lady Blenington said of a great English advocate, " his 
countenance had in it a happy mixture of sparkling intel 
ligence and good nature." His diction was never very 
ornate when speaking extemporaneously, but was always 



106 LIFE OF VANCE. 

marked by cogency and variety, and frequently by splendor. 
He knew the importance of using even small facts and 
circumstances, and his arguments were so compact and at 
the same time so luminous, and his illustrations so apt and 
witty, that it was no wonder jurors almost unconsciously 
fell into and adopted his views and theories. He did not 
seem to care for the mere ornamentations of rhetoric, 
though his language was nearly always correct and fre 
quently elegant. He preferred the more powerful weapons 
of logic and solid facts, bold propositions briefly and clearly 
stated, strong and pithy sentences, interspersed, albeit, 
with appropriate illustrations and mirth provoking anec 
dotes. He possessed in an eminent degree that felicite 
andax in language and manner which a celebrated English 
lawyer boasted of possessing. 

Although his temperament and disposition were always 
sportive and bouyant, and though he sometimes employed 
merriment and even ridicule, which would have seemed 
merciless had it not been tempered and softened by his 
overflowing good humor, yet he rarely indulged in invec 
tive and more rarely in denunciation. These weapons, 
however, when he did employ them, never failed to blast 
and annihilate the objects aimed at. 

Although he did not care for the mere graces of lan 
guage and style, and, it is safe to say, never declaimed 
before a mirror to improve his gestures, nor with a pebble 
in his mouth to perfect his enunciation, nor to audiences 
of rocks, trees and rivulets to enhance the intonation of his 
voice, yet when aroused and when approaching the climax 
of his argument in an important case, he frequently gave 
vent to ornate, vehement and eloquent words, which 
seemed to come from his own deep convictions, which 
thrilled all listeners and filled them with emotion, and 
could not fail to profoundly impress and move the jurors. 

He was not always fluent at the beginning of a speech, 
but would at times appear to be embarrassed or at a loss 



LIFE OF VANCE. 107 

for words, and at such times would occasionally use awk- 
wark if not incorrect phrases. But very soon a vein of 
pleasantry and a lucidity of outline would appear which 
took complete possession of the jury and the bystanders, 
and as he proceeded step by step imparted solidity and weight 
to every argument. Circumstances apparently trivial 
would become under his masterful handling gradually 
clear, weighty and convincing. 

He was always overwhelming in rejoinder and repartee. 
The man who interrupted him while speaking or under 
took to correct him never failed to get the worst of the 
encounter and rarely repeated the experiment. 

One of the most noted trials in the history of the juris 
prudence of this State was the Johnston will case. It 
began at a special term of Chowan Superior Court, at 
Kdenton, February 6th, 1867, and lasted four w r eeks. A 
number of the most eminent lawyers in the State were en 
gaged, viz : Moore, Smith, Winston, Heath, Gilliam, 
Conigland, Phillips and Battle for the propounders, and 
Graham, Bragg, Vance and Eaton for the caveators. 

The will was made in 1861, disposing of a very large 
property in land and slaves in four counties, viz : Chowan, 
Halifax, Northampton and Pasquotank. The beneficiaries 
were the overseers and business managers of the testator, 
all his relatives being excluded. The allegation of the 
caveators was that he was insane, and many of his letters 
were introduced, with other circumstances, in support of 
this contention. Many of the letters concluded as follows : 
"Give my love to Sister Sal and Cousin Sue, and to my 

friend ." During Vance s speech to the jury, which 

had drawn an immense crowd to the court house, one of 
the opposing counsel several times interrupted him for 
the purpose of correcting his statements of the facts or the 
law. As usual, Vance got the better of the encounter, and 
several times quoted the refrain in the letters : "Give my 
love to Sister Sal, Cousin Sue," etc. Finally another 



108 IJFE OF VANCE. 

member of the opposing counsel called to the attention of 
his associate who had been interrupting Vance the fact 
that he was again off the track, and suggested that he 
be called down. u Well now," said the lawyer who had 
had the unpleasant experiences, " if you want him called 
down do it yourself. I have had enough of it." 

Another incident of this trial, often related by Judge 
Merrimon, who presided, is worthy of note. It was in 
evidence that Mr. Johnston, the testator, had said in one of 
the letters referred to in the will, that relatives and friends 
adhered to one very closely when in prosperity, but in 
time of trouble or adversity would forsake him. Vance, 
who the Judge said made a most powerful speech and had 
the bystanders, who literally packed the court house, under 
the spell of his eloquence from beginning to end, contro 
verted that statement, and said it was a libel on human 
nature ; that he himself was a living refutation of it ; that 
he had been honored far beyond his deserts, having been a 
Representative in Congress and twice elected Governor of 
the State, but that at present he was a paroled prisoner of 
the United States, pleading the cause of a client before the 
Court and jury by the grace of the government which had 
arrested him and thrown him into prison, and that never 
when in the height of his prosperity and political power 
did he feel that he had more warm and fondly attached 
friends than at the present moment. Thereupon, said the 
Judge, the court house became wild with excitement ; the 
ladies present, of whom there were many, waving their 
handkerchiefs, and the men stamping and applauding at 
the top of their voices; his and the sheriff s cries of "order 
in Court " were powerless to check the applause, which 
lasted for ten minutes or more. Such a scene in Court, 
the Judge said, he had never witnessed, and that the out 
break was so spontaneous and so free from conscious 
impropriety that he did not think the occasion called for 
punishment for contempt or even a sharp reprimand. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 1 09 

He was not always diligent in the preparation of cases. 
He had gone through O much excitement during and at 
the close of the war, and had recently been affected by a 
stroke of facial paralysis, causing the muscles of his left 
cheek and eye to occasionally jerk and twitch, so that he 
was at times nervous, and could not well undergo contin 
uous labor in a sitting posture. Hence his habit was to 
read and study while reclining on a bed or lounge. 

When the trial of a case was begun, however, he was all 
attention. Nothing escaped him. He literally absorbed 
the testimony of the witness, even the smallest details, and 
very soon also became thoroughly posted as to the law 
points involved. If a case was adjourned over night he 
would " dog-ear," as he termed it, the pages in the books 
of authority which had been cited to the court, take them 
to his home, and the next morning come back the equal if 
not the superior of any lawyer in the case in the discus 
sion and application of the principles and decisions 
involved. The first case of great importance in which he 
was engaged after coming to Charlotte was that of Max 
well vs. McDowell. It was an ejectment suit for the 
recovery of a valuable tract of land in Mecklenburg 
county, and involved many difficult questions of law and 
fact. The ablest lawyers at the bar here were engaged, 
and the trial lasted nearly a week. Many witnesses were 
examined and many questions of law and evidence dis 
cussed. Every night Vance would take the books home 
with him, as before described, and it was astonishing to 
see how he was recuperated and reinforced the next morn 
ing, and with what freshness, lucidity, ease and originality 
he discussed the various points of law arising in the case. 

He seemed to be not only well posted as to the particu 
lar points involved in this case but also upon the general 
doctrine of the law of ejectment and was ready upon the new 
points that afterwards arose. His memory was truly won 
derful. He could recall with perfect accuracy even to the 



110 LIFE OF VANCE. 

very words, the testimony of any witness who had been ex 
amined and whenever a dispute arose as to what any 
witness had said Vance s recollection was invariably sus 
tained by referring to the stenographer s notes or recalling 
the witness to the stand. It is no disparagement to the 
other able lawyers who appeared in this case to say that 
Vance s speech was universally regarded by lawyers as well 
as laymen who heard it, as by far the ablest and best de 
livered in the case. His analysis and grouping of the 
evidence, his clear and forcible deductions, his humorous 
comparisons and characterizations, his soul-stirring appeals, 
and his apt and side-splitting illustrations electrified the 
great crowd which had packed the court house to hear him, 
while his arguments to the Court were elaborate, coherent, 
marvelously lucid and thoroughly lawyer-like. It is easy 
to perceive the difference between the speech in court of a 
well-read and experienced practitioner and that of a mere 
politician. But Vance, when at all posted in a case, talked 
like a lawyer. He recalled definitions and decisions with 
great facility and aptitude, while the richness and fluency 
of his vocabulary was enhanced and adorned with a copious 
supply of legal phrases and maxims. He was never an 
actor before a jury, and descended to none of the tricks of 
the stage or the arts of the demagogue. With all his mer 
riment and overflowing humor, he always appeared to be 
in dead earnest as to the main issue, and never failed to 
impress the jury with the depth and firmness of his own 
convictions. 

Nothing can be risked in asserting that a greater forensic 
triumph was never achieved in the courts of North Caro 
lina than that won by Vance in a case tried at Lexington 
soon after the war. The defendant was on trial for rape. 
Leach appeared with Vance for the defence, and Settle was 
the prosecuting attorney. The witness swore to the fact 
positively, and her testimony was but little if at all shaken 
by the cross-examination or by any evidence the defendant 



LIFE OF VANCE. Ill 

could offer. Settle opened the discussion in a short speech, 
which was characterized by his usual fierceness and with 
the manifest expectation that the defendant would be con 
victed. Leach followed in his usual style ; he was sometimes 
eloquent, sometimes pathetic and occasionally funny, but 
it was plain to be seen that all the way through he was 
oppressed by a sense of the danger that hung like a pall 
over the life of his client. Vance followed Leach. The 
crime was alleged to have been committed during the war 
and while the defendant was at home on furlough. It was 
shown that he had been a favorite suitor, but that after he 
had gone to the army the witness had married the other 
man ; that he had served through the war, and had been 
several times wounded. Vance was at his prime mentally 
and physically, never appeared in better plight, and he had 
a theme to his liking. After the first five minutes the 
conclusion of every sentence was greeted by storms of ap 
plause and laughter. Fowle was on the bench, and he 
sought for a while to preserve the dignity of the court by 
threatening to have the sheriff clear the court room, which 
was packed to suffocation. But all in vain. He soon 
gave up the effort, and court, jury and bystanders were 
alike abandoned to what Leach termed the " spell-binding 
power of the speaker." Sparkling flashes of wit, the oddest 
mimicry, comic postures and gestures, earnest appeals to 
the common sense and common experience of men, humor 
ous and sometimes saddening comments upon the frailties 
of human passion and the vital temptation of a woman 
under certain circumstances to swear falsely, followed each 
other in rapid succession. Anecdote after anecdote con 
vulsed the crowd. His theory of the case was not only 
original and amusing, but withal highly plausible. One 
of his anecdotes might have been, and probably was, manu 
factured for the occasiou. The circumstance had happened 
" up in the mountain country" where he was accustomed 
to locate many of his funny stories. The defendant had 



112 LIFE OF VANCE. 

been indicted for a similar offence, alleged to have been 
committed under very similar circumstances; he belonged 
to the army and was at home on furlough, and the speaker 
related with an inimitable mixture of pathos and humor how 
the prosecutrix, a married woman, in order to cover up her 
own shame and screen her family from disgrace, had been 
induced, coerced in fact, by her maddened husband "to 
swarr the rape agin the fellow." Before Vance had pro 
ceeded far in his speech, the solicitor became so interested 
and amused that he moved his chair over c ose to the jury 
and sat as nearly in front of the speaker as possible. He 
enjoyed the speech as much and laughed as heartily as any 
one in the packed court house. He was entitled to the 
conclusion, but when Vance finished, he rose but half way 
up, his handsome features still twitching with merriment, 
and told the Judge he did not desire to say anything more, 
thus virtually giving up the case. After a short charge by 
the judge, whose voice showed that he was still almost 
choking with laughter, the jury retired, and in less than 
five minutes returned a verdict of not guilty. Such a scene 
as followed has rarely been witnessed in a court house. 
The bystanders literally took the defendant out in their 
arms and were with difficulty prevented from also hoisting 
Vance upon their shoulders. No one who heard that 
speech can ever forget it. The late Honorable John A. 
Gilmer, Senior, who was present at the trial was heard to 
say afterwards that he had never heard such a speech in all 
his life and never expected to hear another such though he 
should live to be a hundred years old. 

Vance was the mortal terror of some of the judges and 
sheriffs because of the absolute impossibility of preserving 
order while he held the floor. A deputy sheriff who acted 
as court officer in Mecklenburg attracted attention and 
often increased the merriment, especially among the law 
yers inside of the bar, by his burlesque efforts to preserve 
order. Judge Logan held the courts of this district for 



LIFE OF VANCE. 113 

several years, and having no appreciation of humor himself, 
would often scold and threaten the officer for not keeping 
silence, although everybody knew it was impossible to 
keep the crowd from laughing at Vance s anecdotes and 
witty speeches. The deputy, J. J. Sims, in order to screen 
himself from the censure of the court, would stand with 
his back to the judge, watch Vance closely, and just as he 
was reaching the climax of a funny story, would yell out 
at the top of his voice: "Silence in court," and then, 
without closing his mouth, lead in the bursts of laughter 
that followed. Others of the judges, like good old Robert B. 
Gilliam, for instance, who themselves appreciated wit and 
humor, were always delighted to hear Vance, and glad 
when he appeared in a case on trial before them. 

At a court held by Judge Gilliam in Charlotte a case 
was being tried which presented some humorous features. 
When Vance s associate in the case had concluded his 
speech to the jury Vance was expected to follow, but 
declined to do so, saying his associate had covered the case 
very fully, and he did not deem it necessary for him to say 
anything. Gilliam leaned forward and shaking his knee 
nervously, looked Vance full in the face and said; "Mr. 
Vance, I think you better make a few remarks." Vance 
saw from the twinkle of the judge s eyes that he \vanted 
fun but his associate did not understand the remark and 
did not feel at all complimented. Vance proceeded to ad 
dress the jury in one of the wittiest speeches of his life, 
and kept the court house for 15 or 20 minutes in almost a 
continuous roar of laughter in which the judge joined most 
heartily. After the case was concluded the judge called 
Vance and his associate up to him and putting a hand on 
the shoulder of each, first addressing the associate, said : 
"You did not understand my remark but Vance did. I did 
not intend to reflect on your speech at all ; it was a good 
speech and you said everything that was necessary." And 
then turning to Vance, he continued: "But, Vance, I 



114 LIFE OF VANCE. 

serve notice on you now that I am not going to let you off 
in any of these cases ; whenever a case like this comes up 
you have got to speak." 

Vance enjoyed jokes on himself as much as on others, if 
not more. He was accustomed to tell the following to 
illustrate a rather careless practice he occasionally fell into. 
He was not always careful to examine his witnesses in his 
office before putting them on the stand. His client in this 
instance was indicted for assault, it being also alleged that 
he had bitten off part of the prosecutor s ear. There was 
a plea of guilty as to the assault, but the maiming was de 
nied. The defendant s contention was that the piece of 
ear was torn off in the scuffle which took place in a piece 
of new ground where there were many fresh cut roots and 
bushes. The evidence was being submitted to the Court, 
as affecting the measure of punishment. After all the 
regular witnesses had testified, the defendant put his hand 
on Vance s shoulder and pulling him back, whispered, "put 
up Jack Deans." "Who is Jack Deans?" said Vance. 
"What does he know?" "That s all right," said the client, 
" he seed all the fight, helped to part us and he ll swear he 
he didn t see no biting." The witness was called to the 
stand and under his examination in chief stated that he 
saw, the fight from beginning to end, helped to part the 
combatants, and that he saw no biting ; he was very em 
phatic in the assertion that he did not see the defendant 
bite the ear. When turned over for cross-examination, he 
said very meekly, in reply to the solicitor s question, that 
he knew he was required by his oath to tell the whole 
truth. " Well, sir," said the solicitor sharply, " you have 
told us what you didn t see, now tell us what you did see?" 
The witness was downcast and reluctant at first but under 
the urging of the solicitor presently raised up his head and 
casting a forlorn look towards his friend and his lawyer, said : 
" Well, jist as we raised him up, I seen him spit a piece of 
the ear outen his mouth !" Vance was heard to say after- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 115 

wards that he would never put another witness on the stand 
in any sort of a case without first knowing what he would 
say. 

Another he told as taking place in Union county. 
Just as he had arrived at his hotel and was in his room 
brushing off the dust, an old litigant entered whom he 
knew, and placing a bill of money on the table, told Vance 
he wanted to employ him in a case that would be among 
the first for trial. And then he went on to explain by 
saying he had a lawyer, but did not like him. "Who is 
he and what is the matter?" inquired Vance. "Mr. Ashe," 
said the client, u but he don t manage my case to suit me." 
" Well, now," said Vance, " Mr. Ashe is one of the best 
lawyers in the State and a perfect gentleman besides, and 
if he can t please you I cannot hope to." " Oh, I know 
all that," broke in the client; " I know Mr. Ashe is a gen 
tleman, but that is the trouble; he is too much of a 
gentleman ; I want you a man what can git down and 
fling dirt (with the opposing counsel, naming him) like 
you kin." 

The Icehour case, tried in Charlotte, is well remembered 
and often spoken of by the members of the bar and others. 
The suit was brought for the recovery of the value of 
15 pounds of bacon and a peck of salt. It was in the Su 
perior Court by appeal from a magistrate. Vance appeared 
for the plaintiff and the late Hon. J. H. Wilson for the de 
fendant. The parties were rather noted litigants between 
whom there was a feud of long standing; many witnesses 
were in attendance, every point was being hotly contested 
and it was seen the case would occupy much of the time of 
the Court. The docket was heavy and a full bar in attend 
ance. In a spirit of levity somebody started a subscription 
to make up the amount in controversy in this little case 
and get it out of the way of important cases. The paper 
was passed to Vance and to humor the joke he put down 
a subscription. But Mr. Wilson took the matter seriously 



Il6 LIFE OF VANCE. 

and arose to explain and vindicate his course to the judge. 
He said in his usual suave and fluent manner, the amount 
involved was small, it was true, but his client was a poor 
man and thought the claim very unjust, and that it was the 
his duty as a lawyer to do every thing in his power to 
vindicate his client s rights. Vance followed in a humorous 
and mimic way, repeating almost verbatim the language of 
Mr. Wilson, the amount involved was small, it was true, 
but his client was a poor man, and thought the claim a 
very just one, and it was his duty as a lawyer to 
do everything in his power to vindicate his client s rights. 
Amid the laughter that followed, Mr. Wilson inquired in 
an elevated voice : u But, brother Vance, what did you 
put in the salt for, there is not a particle of evidence as to 
that ?" As quick as lightning and with inimitable drollery, 
Vance replied : " Why, brother Wilson, the salt was put 
in to save the bacon you ought to know as everybody else 
knows, that salt is always necessary to save bacon." 

Vance s law partner was mayor of the town at one time. 
The word mayor is pronounced by the illiterate people of 
Charlotte and by nearly all the colored people, as a mono 
syllable, and as if spelled marc. A man went to the office 
one day, where Vance was chatting with Col. J. L,. More- 
head, the partner being out, and inquired " is the mare 
in?" " No," said Vance, looking very seriously at the 
man, " the mare is not in, but here s the old hoss ; what 
can I do for you ?" 

A young man was on trial for a misdemeanor, and 
it became necessary to prove for him a good character. 
Vance was his lawyer. After several witnesses had 
been called, none of whom could say anything good of 
the defendant, he asked that his father (daddy, as he called 
him), who was a preacher, be put on the stand. The old 
man was sworn, but even he could not say anything good 
of his son, admitting that he was somewhat stubborn, hard- 
headed and hard to manage. After the case was over, the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 117 

young man rushed into Vance s office, and in an excited 
manner, said, " Well, Governor, for an old man and a 
preacher, so, didn t Dad give in the d st weakest evidence 
you ever heard in the court house?" 

It is no disparagement to say Vance had never any real 
heart in the practice of law. It was not suited to his tastes 
or his ambition. Certain it is he had no desire to be a 
judge. Whatever may have been the dream of his ambi 
tion during the few years he practiced before the war, the 
disrepute into which the bench descended during the re 
construction period was such as to extinguish any desire 
he might have had in that direction. The goal of the aspi 
rations of the average young lawyer is either wealth or a 
seat upon the bench. As the practice in North Carolina 
offered but little hope of wealth, a judgeship was the prize 
held in view by most young lawyers, that is, in the ante 
bellum days, when a judge was a gentleman, as well as a 
lawyer, and the highest type of citizen withal. But when, 
during the era of carpetbagism and reconstruction, the 
office of judge was disgraced and degraded by ignorance, 
stupidity, drunkenness, coarseness and personal and official 
uncleanliness, every self-respecting lawyer who had ever 
entertained a hope or desire to become a judge, at once 
flung away that ambition and abandoned the idea of putting 
on the soiled ermine. It is said that men s ambition is con 
trolled in a degree by their inherent qualities and aptitudes, 
and Vance, aside from the repulsive circumstances above 
referred to, felt, no doubt, that he was not cut out for a 
judge. He practiced law, as he said himself, for a living 
and just for pastime. But still he made it interesting for 
himself and all concerned, and at times very lively for 
those interested in opposition to him. He had little fancy 
for the Supreme Court practice, and rarely attended its 
sessions. Too much precise and technical learning was 
necessary. He could not endure fetters of any kind, hence 
he would attend the county courts and wrestle before the 



Il8 LIFE OF VANCE. 

juries in Gaston and Union counties, and send his partner 
to the Supreme Court. His bouts with the old county 
courts of Mecklenburg were famous. The chairman of that 
court, John Walker, Sr., though not a lawyer (none of the 
court were lawyers), was a man of dignity and strong com 
mon sense. Vance did not always please the old gentleman 
in the management of his cases. The court must preserve 
its dignity, and it was not at all times clear whether Vance 
was making fun of the court or not. But Walker was 
spirited, he was good grit, though it must be admitted he 
had a tough customer in Vance, who seemed to take pride 
in going to the very verge of being disrespectful to the 
court without being quite so in fact. Many amusing pas 
sages at arms took place between the chairman and the 
lawyer. Among them the noted one, when Walker threat 
ened Vance with a fine for showing disrespect for the court, 
and Vance replied that he had been trying his best not to 
show his contempt for the court. But good old John 
Walker went to his long home many years before Vance, 
and it were better for Mecklenburg county and for the 
world, in fact, if more such men as old John W T alker, with 
or without a Vance to tease and worry him, had lived and 
died within it. Pax vobiscum. 

After the Senate had refused to admit him on his first elec 
tion, and after his defeat by Judge Merrimon two years later, 
he returned to the practice of the law with manifest reluc 
tance. His depression was conspicuous and was the subject 
of anxiety and remark among his friends. But the elas 
ticity of his nature soon took a rebound and the restoration 
of his normal condition ensued, till not long afterwards 
he was again and finally called to the performance of his 
arduous, distinguished and patriotic labors for a third term 
as Governor, and then for three terms in succession as 
United States Senator. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 119 



CHAPTER X. 

PERSONAL AND GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 

Anecdote Showing General Clingman s Estimate of Him as a Stump 
Speaker Fond of Reading the Bible Visit to Army of Virginia 
While Governor General Lee s Estimate of Him Habits of Mind 
and Thought Phrase-Making His Own Estimate of his Power as 
Public Speaker His Style, Voice, Appearance, Height, Weight, 
Lameness Characteristics of His Public Speeches Strength of 
Character Affections as Father, Husband and Brother Social 
Charms Uprightness of Character Jokes on Himself Where He 
Came Out Second Best Dr. Warren s Estimate of Him What Dr. 
Boykin Says His Profound Respect for the Bible and Its Pre 
cepts Extracts from His Speech at Wake Forest College and from 
Other Speeches and Letters. 

HI/MOST immediately after leaving college Vance was 
elected county attorney for his native county, and soon 
afterwards, to-wit: in 1854, was elected to the State lyegisla- 
ture. He practiced law in the meantime in Buncombe and the 
adjoining counties, and by his popular manners, personal 
attractiveness, his ability as a lawyer and natural gifts as a 
public speaker, he so impressed himself upon the people 
that in 1858 he was elected to Congress as a Whig and 
American, overcoming a very large Democratic majority in 
the district, and defeating a very able and popular man, 
W. W. Avery. 

Gen. Clingman, who had represented that district in the 
lower house of Congress, and had but recently been trans 
ferred to the United States Senate, told the following 
incident, illustrating the great power and ingenuity of Vance 
as a public speaker. Vance was on what was called the 
"Know-Nothing" side. Avery, of course, opposing. The 
Know-Nothing party had reached the acme of its strength 
and had begun to wane, and about that time was the subject 



120 LIFE OF VANCE. 

of a good deal of ridicule. Clingman being at home, drove, 
out in his buggy to hear the candidates who had an appoint 
ment near by. On his way back a group of country people 
rode up behind him, and being well acquainted with him, 
and also being Democrats and anti-Know-Nothings, asked 
him what he thought of the speaking. Clingman, not being 
very well pleased with the way his side had fared in the discus 
sion, said : " Well, Avery made but few points, and didn t 
make them very well, while Vance, with his jokes and non 
sense, seemed to carry the crowd." At this the men 
galloped by, one of them yelling at the top of his voice : 
" Didn t Vance give them Know-Nothings h 11 ?" u And 
that is the way it was," said Clingman. "Vance told so 
many anecdotes and made so much fun about Know-Notlr 
ingism, that one half the crowd thought Avery was the 
K no w-N oth i ng. " 

While Vance was Governor, he frequently visited the 
North Carolina soldiers in Virginia. On one occasion he 
was invited to address the soldiers, most of whom were 
Virginians and North Carolinians. He had many good 
things to say in his speech about Virginia and the Vir 
ginians, giving them so much praise in fact that the 
Virginia soldiers were doing nearly all the cheering and 
shouting, while the North Carolinians were correspondingly 
depressed, feeling that they ought to hear from their own 
Governor at least some words of comfort and commenda 
tion. He said the Virginians seemed to be born leaders, 
they led well in everything, so much so that the North 
Carolinians are always glad to follow, "and, "he added, 
turning to his own troops with a merry twinkle of the eyes, 
" it was well we did follow you and keep close up to you, 
too, for if we hadn t those heavy battles around Richmond 
of the last few weeks would have been mere skirmishes." 
This brought a yell from the Tar Heels and transferred the 
long faces to the Virginians. 

But his sharp thrusts and witty sayings were the orna- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 121 

ments, the trimmings and frills of his speeches, which had 
also substance and solidity, body and soul. He possessed 
a large store of useful and practical knowledge. If not a 
methodical and slavish student, his mind was never idle ; he 
was no dreamer, but was always in pursuit of some special 
or general information of a practical nature. 

He was not a great reader of fiction, though occasionally 
enjoyed reading a good story and was pretty well versed in 
Scott, Dickens and other standard works. He was a great 
reader of the Bible and was fond of old Bible history. It 
was the love of this sort of literature which led to the pro 
duction of his great essay, u The Scattered Nations." He 
did not read the Bible by snatches, as a good many people 
do, but he read it by subjects and periods, frequently perus 
ing it for hours at a time. He had -special admiration of 
the writings of St. Paul, and was fond of reading and quot 
ing what he termed the great apostle s "chop logic." He 
esteemed St. Paul as not only a great logician, but also a 
man of extensive general learning and wisdom. Paul s 
letters and epistles, he has been heard to say, were in many 
essential respects the most valuable contribution to the 
literature of the world that had ever been derived from a 
single source, and that the Sermon on the Mount was the 
embodiment of all the religion necessary for the salvation 
of the world. 

He had profound respect for sacred things. Beneath 
the surface of his buoyant and sportive disposition there 
was a deep current of thoughtful and serious reflection. 
Even before he joined the church he recognized and often 
spoke of the elevating and refining influence of the Chris 
tian religion, not only upon the civilization of the age, but 
also upon the lives and conduct of individuals. Although 
he sometimes quoted Scripture in his speeches and conver 
sation in a way that called forth criticism from preachers 
and other serious persons, still he was not irreverent, and 
could not even tolerate in others anything that smacked of 



122 LIFE OF VANCE. 

sacrilege or mockery of divine things. After he joined the 
church he was an earnest and consistent Christian, and 
took genuine pleasure in attending upon the ordinances of 
divine worship. But moroseness and gloom had no place 
in his household of faith. His religion was not puritanical 
or ascetic. He believed life still had pleasures not incon 
sistent with real Christianity. 

He believed in storing the mind with general knowledge 
rather than pursuing special branches. He was broad- 
gauge in everything, including the pursuit of knowledge. 
He never lost anything by lapse of memory ; once in pos 
session of an important fact, it was always at his hand ready 
for use. His speeches in the Senate and his addresses 
were, for the most part, elaborately prepared, but his great 
and numerous campaign speeches were almost entirely 
extemporaneous. He has been heard to say he did his best 
thinking on his feet, and that his strongest arguments and 
his most apt and forcible illustrations were suggested by 
the occasion and were of the inspiration of the moment. 
In all his speeches and addresses, whether prepared or 
extemporaneous, his great object was to reach the under 
standing and the hearts of his hearers, rather than to please 
their fancy. Hence he did not strive for that Cicironean 
polish of elocution and those classic models of style which 
so much engrossed the minds of Wirt and Patrick Henry, 
of an earlier day, and of Ed Graham Haywood and Dan l 
G. Fowle, of his own time, and yet he wrote some of the 
most beautiful, graphic and polished specimens of composi 
tion to be found in the English language, notably his 
descriptions of the mountains and mountain scenery of 
North Carolina. 

He was constantly surprising those who thought they 
knew him best. It was impossible for any one to fully 
understand and appreciate the scope and power of his 
intellectual and moral forces. Even those who were close 
to him and heard him discuss important questions in 



LIFE OF VANCE. 123 

private, were as much amazed and electrified by the origin 
ality and brilliancy of his arguments and by the resistless 
potency of his personal magnetism at the bar and on the 
stump as any of his hearers. No man could imitate him ; 
he was emphatically sui generis. Many speakers tried to 
ape him, and many dismal failures were the consequence. 
His stories were in everybody s mouth, but no one could 
tell them as he did. Some of his anecdotes were a little 
shady, but such were generally relieved and made palatable 
by the magnetic and brilliant manner of their recital. Some 
of these when attempted to be told by men who had neither 
tact nor wit, became disgusting. Many stories were at 
tributed to him which he probably never heard and 
would never have told on account of their insipidity. 
Speakers would often attempt to sweeten a joke by saying 
it is "Vance s latest." 

Phrase-making is said to be an attribute of genius. 
Shakspeare has given to our language more puns, bon 
mots, epigrams and peculiar phrases than any man who 
ever lived. Many of his expressions are embedded in our 
language, and are used by thousands who never read a line 
which he or any one else wrote and perhaps never heard of 
him. The same is true, though in a very limited degree, 
of Milton, Addison, Dickens and others. President Cleve 
land has formulated some phrases which have attained great 
currency and are likely to be perpetuated, such as "innoc 
uous desuetude," "pernicious partisanship," "a public 
office is a public trust," etc. Judged by this test, Vance 
was a transcendent genius. Unless we except Lincoln, 
Vance gave expression and currency to more puns, witti 
cisms, anecdotes and epigrams than any man who has lived 
in the latter half of the century. Everybody can repeat 
something good that Vance said. 

His personality was not only strong and exceedingly at 
tractive but overwhelming. He was the lion of every 
occasion and the center of attraction without a rival in 



124 LIFE OF VANCE. 

every group and company where he was to be found. 
He was greater than his own words and speeches and 
his presence was always inspiring. It is an interesting 
coincidence that Wellington estimated the presence of 
Napoleon at an engagement as equivalent to fifty thou 
sand additional troops, and General Lee remarked upon 
the occasion of Vance s visit and speech to the army of 
Virginia, that they were equivalent to a reinforcement of 
50,000 men." 

The following extract is taken from an article written 
by a member of Governor Vance s staff and published in 
Congressman Woodard s eulogy, delivered in the House 
of Representatives : 

Among the most pleasant incidents of my service as a member of 
the Governor s staff was a visit which I made with him to the Army of 
Northern Virginia in the winter of 1863. He was then a candidate for 
re-election to the gubernatorial chair, and was being opposed by the 
party proclaiming itself for "peace and reconstruction" on any 
terms ; and though the ostensible object of his visit was to advance 
his political fortunes, its real object was to rekindle the fires of pa 
triotism in the hearts of the North Carolina troops and to cheer and 
stimulate the entire army. 

General L,ee ordered a general review in his honor an incident I 
believe without parallel in the history of the army. Upon an immense 
plain near Orange Court House, there were assembled the troops 
which composed the then unconquered Army of Northern Virginia. 
* * * Jackson, Longstreet, Stuart, Early, Ewell, Hill, Rhodes, 
Gordon, Hampton, Pettigrew and Fitzhugh Lee were there to do 
honor to Carolina s illustrious son. 

Arranged in two confronting lines, the noble veterans awaited the 
coming of the old chieftain and the youthful Governor. Finally the 
cannons boomed and General I^ee and Governor Vance appeared, and, 
amid storms of enthusiastic cheers, rode slowly along the excited lines. 

Soon as the review was ended the men and officers came crowding 
around the elevated platform which had been prepared for the ora 
tor, and for two hours they gave him their most earnest attention. 
The day was truly a proud one for North Carolina and her gifted son, 
and a more appropriate, effective and eloquent address was never 
uttered by human lips. Under the influence of his varied imagery, 
his happy and graphic illustrations, his stirring appeals and deep 
pathos, his masterly grasp and inner meaning, trenchant 
thrusts and touching allusions and, in a word, under his mag- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 125 

nificent and resistless eloquence, the audience was stirred, 
enraptured, enthused and carried away as if by the spell of a 
magician. Not a man who heard the impassioned outburst of patriotic 
inspiration would have hesitated to die for his country. If aught of 
lukewarniness or despondency had been produced by the machina 
tions of a selfish faction at home, they vanished as the morning mist 
before the rising sun under the spell of this good man s matchless 
eloquence. I heard General Lee remark that Governor Vance s visit 
to the army had been equivalent to its reinforcement by 50,000 men, 
and General J. E. B. Stuart said of it, "if the test of eloquence is its 
effect, this speech was the most eloquent ever delivered." 

Brave, self-reliant and enthusiastic himself, he always 
aroused these qualities in his listeners. He has been 
heard to say of his political campaigns that he did not 
know he had ever changed a vote by his speeches, but 
what he sought to accomplish, and what he thought he 
did accomplish, was to inspire confidence, arouse enthusiasm 
and stimulate among his party friends an increase of zeal 
and activity. 

He was exceedingly handsome of form and feature ; 
nearly six feet tall, he weighed at his prime about 230 
pounds. His right leg had been shortened by a fracture 
caused by a fall from an apple tree when quite a small boy, 
which required him to wear a high heel upon the right 
shoe. This gave him a peculiar and slightly ambling gait; 
his right knee bent outward when walking, and that gave 
him the appearance at a distance of being bow-legged, but 
he was not so. His chest was full and heavy, his neck short 
and thick, and his large and well-shaped head was crowned 
with a graceful suit of thick and glossy hair, which grew 
well down upon his forehead and temples ; his arms were 
long and his hands uncommonly white and shapely. His 
voice, though not at all cultivated, was soft and flexible, 
and when elevated, exceedingly pungent and thrilling. 
His personality was so engaging that all eyes were riveted 
upon him wherever he made his appearance, and his list 
eners gazed at him with tireless and ever increasing- 
admiration from the beginning to the end of his longest 



126 LIFE OF VANCE. 

speeches and lectures. As Pitt, the younger, said to the 
Frenchman who expressed surprise at the immense influ 
ence of Fox : " To hear him was to be under the wand of 
the magician." He possessed amplitude of mind and rich 
ness of imagination, and that high order of eloquence 
which consists of reason and passion fused together. He 
could present a clear, popular and plausible view of the 
most complicated questions. Intricate subjects of finance 
and tariff he could make clear to the plainest man among 
his hearers. 

And yet he never strayed from the paths of his own 
thoughts to cull the flowers and fruits of other men s 
rhetoric. He was no imitator in any sense, no borrower 
or copyist. The glittering antithises of Macaulay did not 
tempt him, nor what has been called the diamond breast 
pin of Disraeli or the velvet coat of Dickens. He cared 
not for a well turned phrase except as it served to 
give point and emphasis to a thought or an argument. 
Every word was selected and every sentence constructed as 
a means to an end, to establish a proposition or convince 
the judgment. Like all truly great men, he seemed to 
inhabit a higher. sphere of thought, into which other men 
could not rise except by arduous labor and toil. His 
amiable and playful turn of mind imparted inexpressible 
grace and delicacy to his language and logic. His histori 
cal allusions, philosophical deductions, his descriptions, so 
full of life and nature, and his humorous raillery flowed 
alternately and without the slightest appearance of artifice 
or effort, showing that simplicity and plainness are tribu 
tary to and not incompatible with energy and effectiveness. 

Macaulay says the effect of oratory depends to a great 
extent upon the character of the orator. Vance s oratory 
had a rare flavor imparted by himself. His speeches owed 
a great part of their charm to the warmth and softness of 
his heart, to his admiration of everything noble and good, his 
belief in the right and the capacity of the people to govern 



LIFE OF VANCE. 127 

themselves, and to his hatred of all manner of injustice, 
cruelty, insincerity, bigotry, sham and false pretense. His 
demeanor was always gracious and pleasing; never obtru 
sive or offensive. 

Strong phrases he undoubtedly employed, but cutting 
sarcasm, angry thrusts and personal ridicule, which always 
make a speaker interesting, being both beauties and de 
formities, he rarely employed. He was too manly, too 
brave and too good hearted to make a sinister attack or 
strike beneath the belt. 

In one of his campaigns during the war a friend gave 
him a lot of things of a rather scandalous and personal 
nature relating to his opponent. He listened patiently and 
replied mildly but firmly, he " must decline to use them. 
Such charges ought never to be brought against a public 
man in politics or religion." 

A discriminating listener to one of his great political 
speeches, said he combined the vehemence and enthusiasm 
of Pinckney with the impressiveness and majesty of Web 
ster. Although acuteness, ingenuity and wit showed 
through all his speeches, they were so employed as never 
to impair the athletic vigor of his arguments. Though 
possessing a strong and prolific imagination, his language 
was rarely decked with flowers, but was rather character 
ized by opulence of thought and intenseness of expression, 
choice and felicitous phrases, beautiful and startling 
images, searching analysis, simple and unadorned pathos, 
sympathy with nature and humanity, illuminating the un 
derstanding of his hearers and investing them with some 
thing of his own enthusiasm and greatness. His style was 
always dramatic and original. He delighted in sharp con 
trasts. The homely and the magnificent (in imagery) closely 
following each other, grotesqueness and mimicry in one 
sentence, thrilling and inspiring words and ideas in the 
next. His audiences were always highly appreciative and 



128 LIFE OF VANCE. 

sympathetic, and he could move them from laughter to 
tears and from tears to laughter in rapid succession. 

He had plenty of self-esteem, but it was not that of one 
inflated by popular applause or indiscriminate praise, but 
only that of the man conscious of right motives and honest 
purposes. He has been heard to say every man should 
have self-esteem and pride enough to keep out of bad com 
pany. He undoubtedly had ambition, but it was of that 
higher sort that comes from a desire to earn promotion by 
doing good, and it was unmixed with avarice or cupidity. 
He did not crave wealth, but had a lofty disdain of riches, 
especially if acquired by extortion upon the poor or by any 
questionable methods. No man could be more careful of 
his personal credit and more prompt to meet every pecuni 
ary obligation than he was, and yet the desire to accumulate 
wealth he never possessed in the slightest degree. He had 
tempting opportunities. He was offered law-partnerships 
in Baltimore, New York and other place where lucrative 
business and ultimate wealth certainly awaited him, but 
they did not tempt him. He put them aside almost without 
consideration. He knew from intuition as well as experi 
ence that more congenial labors and all the honors he desired 
would come to him here in North Carolina, which he loved 
with all the ardor and constancy of a troubadour. 

He engaged the affections of the people by the upright 
ness of his personal and official conduct, by the blameless- 
ness of his private life, the placability and gentleness of his 
disposition and by the warmth of his private and domestic 
attachments. 

As husband, father, brother, son, he was devoted, tender 
and exceedingly affectionate, while among his associates 
he was cordial, playful, easy, companionable and lovable, 
and to his friends the very soul of loyalty and devotion. 

Dr. Edward Warren, who was on Gov. Vance s staff as 
surgeon general during the war, and who, of course, knew 
him most intimately, has put on record in his valuable 



LIFE OF VANCE. 1 29 

book " A Doctor s Experiences in Three Continents," the 
following estimate of Vance s character and qualities : " In 
my judgment, no nobler man than Zebulon Baird Vance 
was ever created ; with an inherent kindness of heart which 
tempers and softens his entire nature ; a respect for justice 
and right which asserts itself under all possible circum 
stances ; a sense of the ridiculous from which well out a 
stream of humor at once copious, sparkling and exhaust- 
less, and an intellect which, like some great oak of the 
forest, is at once a tower of strength and a thing of 
beauty, now bracing the hurricane breath and then adorn 
ing the landscape by its grandeur, its symmetry and its 
verdure. I have analyzed his heart from core to covering, 
and I know that in its every cell and fibre it is of the purest 
gold, without the trace of alloy or a taint of counterfeit." 

Dr. Thos. J. Boykin, now of Baltimore, who was surgeon 
of Vance s regiment, and a life long friend and admirer, in 
a letter under date July 29, 1896, says : u The best and most 
eloquent, effective and practical speech I ever heard any 
one deliver was the one he (Vance) made in camp at the 
end of the first year his regiment had enlisted for, when 
they were all paid off and given each a new suit and were 
at liberty to go home, if they wished. And many of them 
expected to do so. He called the men together, formed 
them in a hollow square and mounted a box and made an 
appeal to them to remain in the field and defend and pro 
tect the homes of their fathers and mothers in the most 
impressive and burning language I ever listened to in all 
my life. At the conclusion of the speech the drum sounded 
and every man in the regiment marched up and re-enlisted 
for the war, and many of the old gray headed fathers pres 
ent, with tears in their eyes, offered to follow their sons, 
whom they an hour before expected to take home with 
them." 

He was as charming in his social intercourse as upon the 
stump or at the bar, if not more so. Gay and facetious in de- 



130 LIFE OF VANCE. 

portment, he was the soul of life and merriment for any 
company in which he was to be found. That fascinating 
quality known as personal magnetism, so conspicuous and 
potent in his public and official career, was even more per 
ceptible in his every day intercourse with his friends anfl 
associates. His presence was indeed the magician s wand 
to put a spell on every one with whom he came in contact. 
As he passed along the streets all eyes were turned upon 
him, and little boys and girls would stop to look at him, 
with smiles of admiration. When he entered the court 
room, the business, however important, would be tempo 
rarily suspended and every eye of judge, lawyer, juror 
and bystander would play upon him and nearly every face 
be wreathed in smiles ; all were ready to applaud vocifer 
ously any remark, motion or signal he might make. 

At a State convention held at Greensboro in 1872, when 
Merrimon was nominated for Governor, Vance with others 
appeared upon the rostrum arranging preliminaries. The 
crowd went wild at the sight of Vance and the deafening 
calls for him obstructed all business. He came to the front 
and waving down the crowd who had risen to their tip 
toes, implored them to be patient, assuring them that only 
preliminaries were being arranged and that "as soon as the 
lines of battle were formed the skirmishers would be called 
in and^the regular firing would begin." Many of the dele 
gates being old soldiers, this was a happy hit, and it tickled 
the audience thoroughly. A country delegate was heard 
to remark as the applause subsided : " I ll be d d if he 
can open his mouth without saying something good." 

He had a keen sense of humor and rarely allowed an 
occasion for a joke to pass. While Governor, during the 
war, he called out the Home Guard Militia, directing that 
they be assembled at the several county court houses on a 
date several days subsequent to the order. A certain col 
onel in a county not far from Raleigh, in order to appear 
to be very laconic and prompt, telegraphed to Vance a few 



UFE OF VANCE. 131 

hours after the receipt of the order, and of course before he 
had made any move towards getting together his men who 
were scattered all over the county : "Ready in W." Vance 
seeing how utterly ridiculous this was, and quick to seize 
the opportunity for a joke, sent back a reply as follows : 

HEADQUARTERS, RALEIGH, , 1864. 

To Colonel Commanding Home Guard: 

Fire ! Z. B. VANCE. 

The Colonel received this telegram and did not under 
stand it thought there must be a mistake or a misprint, 
or perhaps the city of Raleigh was burning. His friends 
were consulted, and on calling for the original to which 
this was a reply, saw the joke, and it was many a day before 
the redoubtable Colonel heard the last of it. 

Even his own afflctions were made the occasion of mer 
riment and jest. Soon after the loss of his eye, he came to 
Charlotte and related an interview, while here, with an old 
friend and client from the country who called upon him. 
The old gentleman was very much concerned about the loss 
of the eye, and asked many questions as to the process of 
taking out the diseased ball and putting in the artificial one. 
Finally, looking the Senator straight in the face, he said : 
" Vance, which is the artificial eye ?" Upon being informed, 
he seemed to take a still more scrutinizing view and then 
said : " Well, I be durned if I don t believe it s a better 
looking eye than the other." 

He was especially fond of telling anecdotes on himself, 
when they represented him as coming out second best in 
the tilt. The following are specimens : 

While he lived at Charlotte, an old gentleman from the 
country came to his office to see him. He said, " Gov 
ernor, I have come several miles jist o purpose to see 
you and git acquainted with you. I have heerd of you for 
many years and have wanted to see you mighty bad. I ll 
die better satisfied because I ve got to see you. I ve heerd 



132 LIFE OF VANCE. 

a good deal of your brother Bob, too, and I ve always heerd 
he had the best keeracter of the two." 

A friend said to him on one occasion, " Vance, I do not 
understand how it is that you and your brother Bob belong 
to different churches ? You a Presbyterian, and he a Meth 
odist." That is a little queer, said Vance, but a stranger 
thing than that is that Bob believes in the doctrine of fall 
ing from grace and never falls, while I do not believe in the 
possibility of falling from grace, but am always falling." 

One day having some business with an old colored man, 
he asked his brother in black, " Uncle, do you belong to 
the Church?" The man replied, " Yes, Boss, thank the 
Lord." " What Church do you belong to ?" " To the Pres 
byterian Church," replied the darkey. "Uncle, do you 
believe in election ?" " O, yes, Boss. I believes in 
election." " Well, Uncle, do you think you are elected?" 
said Vance. " Yes, Boss, thank the Lord, I thinks I 
am," said the darkey. " Well, Uncle, do you think I m 
elected ?" inquired Vance. u I d never heerd, Boss, as 
how you was a candidate," replied the colored brother 
candidly. 

This conversation occurred before Vance had become a 
professor of religion, that is to say, before he became a can 
didate for election. 

A statesman must be more or less a politician ; and a 
politician must be more or less politic, to retain his influ 
ence in politics. Vance was bold enough when duty 
required him to take a stand. To declare himself a pro 
hibitionist simply meant to put some man less competent 
and less true to good morals in his place in the Senate, 
without doing real service to the cause of good morals. It 
simply meant political ostracism to himself, without any 
compensation to the cause of morality. His heart was 
always with the cause of temperance and religion ; but he 
cultivated and practiced the conservatism necessary to suc 
cessful leadership. When the prohibition excitement was 



LIFE OF VANCE. 133 

at its highest in North Carolina, some prohibitionists came 
to him on a certain occasion and requested him to declare 
publicly for prohibition. He made an adroit and evasive 
reply : "Gentlemen," said he, " My conscience is with you, 
but my stomach is on the other side." This remark was, of 
course, humorous, for his stomach, as a rule, harmonized 
with his conscience. 

As proof that Vance s sportive disposition and his pro 
pensity to jest, at times even in what others thought serious 
matters,, did not originate in any want of appreciation of 
the value of sacred things, and to show his profound rever 
ence for the Bible and the Christian religion, the following 
extract taken from an address he delivered at Wake Forest 
College June 26, 1872, will be read with interest : 

Remember, too and this above all that there is no progress, no 
development, no increase, worthy of your efforts to attain, unless it 
be conceived in the fear of your Creator. 

There is doubtless some infidelity among you, as in all other 
colleges. I know well how it is. When young minds are thoroughly im 
bued with the Pagan classics, and come first to exercise their powers 
of reason, the desire is to test them upon every subject, and especially 
upon the received creeds of religion, attacking them with almost a 
savage delight. A spell of scepticism comes upon the young Senior 
and the young graduate as naturally as the spell of love ere long, or 
as the measles in childhood. He reads and perforce admires Hume, 
Ballingbroke, Gibbon, Voltaire, and thoughts present themselves 
which he imagines never before, since the world began, entered the 
mind of man. He has thus made a discovery it seems clear to him ; 
and he wonders at the hypocrisy or stupidity of preaching and priest 
craft. He wants the world to know that he, at least, is not to be de 
luded with cunningly-devised fables of Hebrews Jews ! and old 
wives tales. It sounds so large, too, to differ with everybody else. 
It smacks of genius. He is strongly tempted by the glittering fallacies 
of materialism to forsake the simple faith of the fathers aye, his own 
kind father and anxious mother. 

But be not deceived. We all know that reason is but a sorry guide 
even in the affairs of this world, and so, in those of the next, must be 
altogether rash and ruinous." The greatest intellects of the world 
have had all the doubts and suggestions you have thought new and pe 
culiar to yourselves; they have sounded all the depths and shallows of 
human scepticism, and have found it worse than folly. None can 
escape the conviction of the existence of a beneficent God the grain 



134 LIFE OF VANCE. 

of corn, the blade of grass, the flower and the forest, the seas and the 
heavens all and everything, proclaim and prove that in spite of us ; 
and, if the Bible be not a revelation of His will concerning us and the 
things inscrutable to sense, then he has never made one, but has left 
us utterly and miserably ignorant of the nature and wants of that 
inner and higher consciousness we all feel, call it the soul or by what 
ever other name you will. 

There is no book so God-like as the Bible. There is none other 
which has in it so little of the earth, earthy. 

Dismiss, my dear young friends, if you have them, all such ideas 
as those I have described, as sceptical and natural to you ; and go forth 
to your positions in the world strong in the faith of that God from 
whom cometh every good thing ; all true progress, all civilization, all 
genuine freedom, all desirable wisdom ? " Whence then cometh 
wisdom ? And where is the place of understanding ? Seeing it is hid 
from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. 
Destruction and death say, we have heard the fame thereof with our 
ears. The depth saith, it is not in me ; and the sea saith, it is not 
with me. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the 
place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth ; and seeth 
under the whole heavens. * * * And unto man he saith : Behold 
the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom ; and to depart from evil, that is 
understanding." 

Go forth, then, and assume your duties in society, remembering 
what your liberties are worth, what they cost in their establishment. 
Remember that the great and good of every age have striven to perfect 
them, and that it is your duty to seek diligently for the means and 
power to do likewise. Resolve, as you must become partisans for 
governments are necessarily controlled by parties that you will yet 
remain patriots. Labor incessantly to preserve bright and pure the 
sacred flame of liberty amid all the temptations and wayward ten 
dencies of the age. Pray for the prosperity of our political Zion, that 
her strength may be as her days require ; that as foes assault, her 
towers may rise higher, her battlements become stronger, and her 
bulwarks increased, until she stands victorious over kings and princi 
palities and powers, and all the weary of earth are gathered securely 
beneath the peaceful shadows of her walls. 




LIEUT. Z. B. VANCE, U. S. A. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 135 



CHAPTER XL 

VANCE AS I KNEW HIM. BY REV. R. N. PRICE, D. D. 

Views of His Inner Life as Boy and Man Personal Traits and Pecu 
liarities Quick Perception Wonderful Memory Thought to 
Lean Towards Skepticism Love for His Mother Brave and Chi 
valrous Scrupulously Honest and Truthful as a Boy Would 
Confess and Take the Rod Rather Than Deny a Mischievous 
Prank Straightforward and Manly in Everything A Most 
Patient and Tender Husband and Father Scrupulous in Money 
Matters Practiced Economies Never Became Involved in 
Financial Difficulties or Assumed Obligations Beyond His Means 
No Self-Denial Too Great if Honor Involved Challenge to Fight 
a Duel Accepted The Adjustment a Full Vindication of Him 
Keenly Alive to Danger But Heroic Army Incidents and Anec 
dotes Conduct as an Officer Neither Austere Nor Negligent Joins 
the Church. 



KB Vance, as he was familiarly called when a 

was twenty years old when I first became acquainted 
with him. As a preacher, I visited the family in the year 
1850-51. He was a big boy physically and intellectually, 
sociable and affable, but not loquacious. While he was 
witty and humorous, even at that early age, there was a dig 
nity and self-poise in his demeanor that conciliated respect. 
He was meditative and fond of books, and he had profited 
by the Vance library, a family collection of standard 
literary works. He had had reasonable common school 
advantages, and had spent a short time as a student in 
Washington College, East Tennessee, an institution that 
has given to the country many of its most useful men. He 
had not, at that time, been a student, as he afterwards was, 
of the University of North Carolina. But he had acquired 
the rudiments of science, and his education, though limited, 
was accurate ; and it was a spark sufficient to kindle a 
genius of no ordinary character. 



136 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Dr. Ensor, of Bristol, Term., was a school mate of 

Mr. Vance in Washington College. Some years since he 
told me the following anecdote : Ensor and Vance were 
appointed to deliver orations at a coming commencement 
of the college. One day they went out into an o!4 field to 
practice their speeches. Vance spoke his first, and while 
Ensor was speaking, he lay down on the grass to listen and 
criticise. When Ensor s speech was ended, Vance rolled 
over in the grass two or three times and said: " Ensor, I 
feel it from the top of my head to the ends of my fingers 
and toes, that I am to be Governor of North Carolina." 
This, of course, was said jocularly ; but the joke, which 
turned out to be more true than poetical, showed that even 
at that early day, the boy had dreams of ambition. 

Vance s chief intellectual endowments, as a young man, 
were a quickness of perception, a ready and retentive mem 
ory, a lively fancy, a creative imagination, together with a 
flow of wit and humor. Not being an ambitious conversa 
tionalist, he made no effort to display these qualities in 
company. In the social circle, he knew his place and kept 
it ; he was neither demure nor garrulous. 

As a young man, his habits, so far as I know, were good. 
He was regarded by his associates, I think, as sober and 
chaste. Though sufficiently fond of society, bed-time usu 
ally found him at home, and either in bed or pouring over 
the pages of some valuable book. 

I knew him well as a man, having lived some years in 
Asheville, when he was in politics, and having spent a year 
with him in the war of the States, a large part of the time 
as a tent-mate and mess-mate. 

While Col. Daniel s regiment, of which Vance s company 
was a part, was camped near Smithfield, Va., I made me a 
bedstead of poles held up by forks ; Vance, soldier-like, laid 
his bed on the ground. One night there was a pouring 
rain ; and I awaked to find Vance busily moving about in 
the tent. I said, "What s the matter, Brother Zeb?" He 



LIFE OF VANCE. 137 

replied, " I am floating !" With a little re-adjustment, his 
couch was placed above high water mark, and he was soon 
again in the land of dreams. 

No man was readier at repartee than he. One night I 
had retired upon my bunk, while Mr. Vance, who had been 
out spending the earlier part of the night in chit-chat with 
officers of the regiment, as was not unusual with him, came 
in and addressed himself to letter writing near my head ; 
for he was in the habit of attending to his correspondence 
after others were in bed. As he was writing he cut his 
tobacco pretty short, and was spitting rather promiscuously 
as I was dropping to sleep. I carried into dream-land 
an oppressive dread lest, in his reckless dispensation of am- 
beer, he might mistake me for a spittoon. Half awake, I 
arose on one elbow and said, "See here, Zeb, I m afraid 
you ll spit on me!" He replied very blandly, "No, brother 
Dick, I ll spit in the water bucket !" This assurance gave 
me entire satisfaction, and I was soon east of Eden again. 

Most of those who knew Mr. Vance loved him ; all re 
spected him. He was never an object of contempt. If 
any hated him, they could not despise him. 

In the earlier part of his career he was suspected of 
skepticism, or rather of religious indifference ; but he was 
always deferential to the Church and respectful to ministers 
of the Gospel. Closely akin to his reverence for religion 
was his ever-present and never-waning veneration for wo 
man. His tenderness and devotion to one of the best of 
mothers is one of the pleasing memories of the family. He 
could not have been otherwise than a tender, thoughtful, 
patient husband. No irritation could so far throw him off 
of his guard as to cause him to speak harshly to his wife. 
Towards woman he was as chivalric as he was brave towards 
man. 

His word was his bond backed by a mortgage on a sense 
of honor that knew no depreciation. His mother was 
heard to remark that, as a child, Zeb never told her a lie. 



138 LIFE OF VANCE. 

He would bravely take the severest castigation rather than 
deny his guilt in any case where he was guilty, and he, no 
doubt, richly earned many a whipping ; for, while never 
mean or base, he was, as a boy, prolific of mischievous 
pranks. He was capable of a great deal of mischief, and 
hence sometimes subjected himself to the rod, which he 
always took manfully rather than deny the truth. 

Mr. Vance was strictly truthful and just in his financial 
dealings. I suppose there is not a man living who would 
say that he ever knew any crookedness in his business 
transactions. To use a hackneyed phrase, "he was the soul 
of honor." He could not stoop to a little thing. There 
was a grandeur in his bearing and a magnanimity in his 
dealings with his fellow men that attracted general atten 
tion. To these elements of greatness were due in a 
considerable measure his general and enduring popularity, 
and his long tenure of public trusts. 

For a man of genius, he was a good financier. Unfitted 
by taste and talent for the dry details of busimess and the 
little economies by which, coral-like, fortunes are ordinari 
ly built up, he nevertheless had an instinctive soundness of 
judgment in business, and his finances were kept within 
safe bounds. His financiering was inspired by his love of 
honesty rather than by his love of riches. No fondness for 
pleasure or show T could induce him to place himself in cir 
cumstances in which he could not meet his obligations. 
No self-denial was too severe, if honor required it. 

His generosity was equal to his honor. All he had be 
yond the demands of justice was at the disposal of his 
friends if they needed help. 

He was persistently patient with his friends, but defiant 
in the face of implacable foes. He never surrendered with 
an enemy in front, and never fired on a flag of truce. But 
he was as forgiving of enemies that sought reconciliation 
as he was firm and courageous in opposition. 

He had the discretion which is the better part of valor, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 139 

and he was usually moderate in his criticisms of those who 
denounced him on political grounds. In one of his Con 
gressional canvasses the Asheville News criticised him very 
severely. When he came to Asheville to speak some of 
fcis friends advised him to denounce the editor in unmeas 
ured terms. He replied: "No; I will not do that; a 
year hence that man may be my friend and supporter." And 
it was even so. 

While running for Congress from time to time, his 
courage was occasionally put to the test. He was in the 
way of certain aspirants who were more than willing to 
see him put out of the way. Methods of intimidation were 
used to drive him out of politics. Once he was challenged 
to mortal combat, and, as a man of the world, controlled by 
false maxims then in vogue, he promptly accepted the 
challenge. Friends, however, interfered, and bloodshed 
was prevented. He did not approve of duelling ; he was 
the very opposite of blood-thirsty ; but he did not intend 
that the game of bluff should be successfully played on 
him. When it was discovered that he could not be bluffed, 
he had smoother sailing. 

Throughout his career, including a year in the army, 
first as a captain and then as a colonel, he demonstrated 
his courage not blood-thirstiness, not fool hardiness but 
courage that combined the physical and the moral. IJe 
was keenly alive to danger, and was as anxious as any man 
ought to be to avoid injury and death ; but he prized his 
honor and love of country above life itself. It is said that 
in one of the battles on the peninsula below Richmond, he 
said to a rabbit retreating to the rear, " Go it, cotton tail, 
if I had no more reputation at stake than you, I would fol 
low you !" But he had reputation and the rights of his 
section at stake, and no man faced death more bravely on 
that occasion than he. 

To use a common expression, he had " the courage of his 
convictions." When many young men of Western Caro- 



14 LIFE OF VANCE. 

lina were going over to the Democratic party in the fifties, 
believing that owing to the fact that the nation, the district 
and their counties were Democratic, their personal interests 
would be subserved by the change, he stood firm to the 
Whig party and afterwards to its successor, the American 
party. As a Whig and American he opposed secession till 
the proclamation of Abraham Lincoln calling for troops to 
coerce the Southern States into submission, swept him into 
the Southern army. 

He was a born ruler king of men. While he was a cap 
tain in the Confederate army, I was a member of his 
company ; and his control of his men was as complete and 
amicable as that of a well regulated family. As a colonel 
he had the confidence of officers and men, and his govern 
ment was that of love rather than of force, though by no 
means lax. He was equally removed from the hauteur of 
the regular army officer, and such familiarity with his men 
as would have bred contempt. 

He loved good society that of the refined and cultured. 
He had a pleasing address, and his manners in society fell 
little short of the courtly. Persons who knew not his true 
inwardness may have thought him aristocratic ; but his 
heart beat in unison with the masses. 

He died a Protestant and Christian, an upright member 
of the Presbyterian Church. The example in his youth of 
pious parents, the influence of a Christian wife, and of her 
patient endurance of months of affliction, which finally 
broke her way to God, removed from his mind all doubt as 
to the genuineness and divinity of experimental religion ; 
and after her death he appeared at the altars of the Pres 
byterian Church, made a confession of Christ, and sought 
membership in her communion. In this communion he 
died. 

These scattering remarks may appear as too much in the 
spirit of panegyric. I have not dwelt upon the faults of 
Senator Vance. Of course he had faults. The major part 



LIFE OF VANCE. 141 

of his life was spent as a worldlian ; he made mistakes ; 
but even in his worst days he was not characterized by 
flagrant immoralities. I was with him and near him sev 
eral months in the army ; and I am sure that he was, during 
that period, abstemious from ardent spirits ; a profane word 
seldom passed his lips, and he was strictly chaste. With 
his habits in Washington City, I was not acquainted. 

Morally and spiritually his last days were his best days. 
He mellowed and ripened for a better world. He had 
gleaned from the trials and aggravations of life, a hallowed 
chastening, the fires of affliction had scaled his earthliness 
away, and as his sun was hastening to the horizon, he was 
growing up unto Christ-likeness. I trust he was ready for 
the Master s call, and that he is at rest. 



UFE OF VANCE. 




CHAPTER XII. 

VANCE AND SETTLE CAMPAIGN. 

Large State Convention Vance Nominated for Governor His Able 
and Pathetic Speech Accepting the Nomination The Crowd The 
?ffect-Thos. Settle the Competitor-Their First Meeting-Open 
ing of the Campaign At Rutherfordton The Crowd The 
Scenes The Speeches At Bakersville The Respective Escort 
-The Speeches Vance s Nine Questions Vance s Popularity- 
Bearing of the Two Canidates-They Meet at Jonesboro-Stormy 
Scenes-Drunken Negroes-Settle Angry- Vance s Coolness-Im 
mense Enthusiasm Gigantic Blows Given and Received The 
Speech at Carthage-Moffitt Mill-Torchlight Procession-Carter s 
Mill Women, Children and Babies in Ranks at Lexington, Weiit- 
worth, Kinston and Elsewhere. 

( N the 1 4th day of June, 1876, Vance was nominated 
for Governor of the State by the Conservative 
Democratic party, the name assumed by the Old Whigs 
and Democrats, who had been united by the reconstruction 
and other harsh and oppressive measures of the Federal 
administration. These measures were championed here 
by many adventurers from Northern States, known in this 
and other localities of the South as carpet-baggers. With 
these were associated the "bushwhackers" of the Western 
part of the State deserters and those who had refused to 
obey the conscript law ; the " Buffaloes" of the East men 
who had remained within the Federal lines and engaged 
in acts of lawlessness and depredation, together with almost 
the entire colored population, and also a few respectable 
native citizens in different parts of the State. 

The convention which nominated Vance was large, 
numbering nearly a thousand delegates, and thoroughly 
representative of all the better classes of citizens. A con 
temporary newspaper referring to the convention, says : 
u Such an outpouring of the best elements of the State was 



LIFE OF VANCE. 143 

never before seen." They had long endured with more or 
less patience the wrongs and outrages of political adven 
turers and South haters, and were now determined to throw 
off the yoke. The field had been thoroughly canvassed 
beforehand, and while Vance was known to have many 
elements of strength, he was also known to have made 
enemies. Although he had sought in every possible way 
to mitigate the harshness of the conscript laws by insist 
ing that men should have the right to select their own 
companies, and thus be placed in the army among their 
neighbors and friends ; by manfully upholding the writ of 
habeas corpus and protecting such as were discharged 
under it; and by his unsurpassed energy and success in 
providing for the families of the soldiers in the field, as 
well as for the soldiers themselves, still, in the discharge of 
his duties as Governor, he had been obliged to assist in ar 
resting deserters or others who singly or in gangs were 
committing depredations upon the peaceable and law- 
abiding people. 

Hence opinion was divided as to whether it would be 
expedient to nominate him. He was very free to say to 
his friends in consultation that he himself had grave 
doubts whether it would not be a mistake to put him in 
nomination. But as the delegates began to assemble from 
various parts of the State, the sentiment was seen to 
crystalize largely in his favor. A number of other names 
of distinguished men were placed before the convention, 
viz : Daniel G. Fowle, David S. Reid, W. R. Cox, Jno. A. 
Gilmer, C. C. Clark and W. F. Martin. Nevertheless 
Vance s nomination was practically unanimous ; out of 966 
votes cast he received 962. He was in Raleigh at the 
time and made a speech at night in front of the National 
Hotel accepting the nomination. An immense crowd 
surrounded him, unbounded enthusiasm prevailed and the 
speech was most impressive. Listeners were heard to say 
it was the only speech Vance had ever made without tell- 



144 LIFE OF VANCE. 

ing an anecdote. An unusual seriousness seemed to possess 
him, and he was pathetic rather than humorous. He told 
in touching words the story of the humiliation and suffering 
of the people during the era of reconstruction ; how they 
had been invited to frame a constitution and elect officers 
and a Legislature, and when they had proceeded to do so, 
how they were again put back under military rule because 
forsooth, they had not seen fit to vote in a way to please 
the party in control at Washington. In scathing and indig 
nant terms he denounced the authors of this iniquitous 
legislation in Congress and its aiders and abettors in our 
own State, and related how the Federal government had, by 
an act of Congress, authorized a military commander with 
headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, to order an 
election for members of a convention to frame a new con 
stitution for North Carolina ; to prescribe the qualification 
of voters ; appoint the registrars and designate the time and 
manner of holding the election and himself to certify the 
result ; that under this military order thirty thousand of 
the most intelligent white men of this State were disfran 
chised (all who had ever held office and afterwards engaged 
in the war for the Confederacy), while eighty thousand 
colored men who had no right under the constitution and 
laws of the State or the United States to vote, were admit 
ted to the polls, thus allowing the colored people to confer 
upon themselves the privilege of casting the ballot in future. 
Such was the method by which the Fifteenth Amendment to 
the United States Constitution was adopted in this State and 
the right of suffrage conferred upon the colored people. He 
told how he had struggled all through the dark period of 
the war to uphold the civil law and guard the sacred writ 
of habeas corpus ; how he had succeeded by dint of per 
suasion, remonstrance, and at times by even threatening to 
call out the militia ; and then how shameful and humiliat 
ing it was to know that after the last soldier had laid down 
his arms and peace had been proclaimed, that sacred writ 





*^v 



LIFE OF VANCE. 145 

was trodden under foot and reputable citizens cast into dun 
geon without cause or accusation, and how that reputable 
citizens, such as Judge Kerr, Josiah Turner and many 
others were arrested and thrown into dungeons by Kirk s men, 
without charges and kept there without bail, under Gov 
ernor Holden s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. He 
also referred to personal charges against himself, none of 
them, however, affecting his integrity or his honor, and 
holding his white, shapely hands high above his head, he 
said in thrilling tones, u Before my God no dishonest dollar 
has ever soiled these palms." 

He also related that in 1863 some fifty or sixty citizens 
of North Carolina were arrested by the Confederate au 
thorities and put in prison in Salisbury without known 
cause. He wrote at once to the authorities at Richmond 
demanding that these men be brought to trial immediately 
on specific charges or released. There was hesitation and 
quibbling at Richmond, but he told them that if these 
men were not tried at once, or released, he would issue a 
proclamation recalling the North Carolina soldiers from 
Virginia, and call out the State militia to protect the liber 
ties of the citizens, and the prisoners were speedily released. 

The effect of this speech was truly wonderful and far- 
reaching. It was genuine eloquence the eloquence of 
manhood and truth rather than of mere words. It was 
eloquence personified Vance eloquence, and showed what 
was manifest in all his speeches throughout the campaign, 
that the man was greater than the emergency, greater 
than his own words, greater than any occasion. The hearts 
of all his listeners were deeply stirred. Their heaving 
bosoms and moistened eyes showed how tenderly they 
had been touched, while their clenched teeth and livid 
countenances gave evidence of their resentment and de 
termination. Vance immediately took the stump. His 
competitor was Honorable Thos. Settle, a native of Rock- 

ingham county in this State, an ex-Judge of the Supreme 

1 1 



146 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Court, a man of good family, good character, of a high 
order of ability, and of very prepossessing personal appear 
ance. Vance and Settle made a joint canvass of the State, 
which is perhaps the most memorable in its history, and 
m.ay well be termed the battle of the giants. 

It would be difficult to conceive of an instance where a 
man s presence and personalty were so strikingly superior 
to his own words and arguments as was demonstrated in 
this campaign. Vance s competitor, Judge Settle, was an 
able, astute and powerful debater, and it was sometimes felt 
by Vance s friend, when Settle made the first speech that 
it would be next to impossible for Vance to fully meet his 
arguments, and even at the close of some of the debates 
Vance s friends felt that he had not been as careful and 
forceful in answering some of Settle s arguments as he 
might have been. But it made no difference with the 
crowd. His presence was enough for them. The moment 
he rose, u Vance," "Vance," "Vance," went up in a grand 
chorus from all parts of the crowd. The first motion of 
his hand or the first note of his voice sent a thrill of elec 
tricity through the crowd and set them wild. It made no 
difference what he said or whether he said anything in 
particular or not. The crowds invariably rose to their feet 
as soon as he began, and would yell at the end of every 
sentence and frequently before the end, not heeding or car 
ing what was said. He had a big triumph before he 
began. 

At the beginning as well as at the end, or at any inter 
mediate point in his speech, they were ready and eager to 
pull him off the stand and bear him around in their arms. 
It was often with great difficulty that he could prevent the 
crowds from howling down his competitor in his replies 
and rejoinders. 

It is regretted that full, accurate and impartial accounts 
of this campaign are not now accessible. The newspapers 
which had the best reports cannot be found. The follow- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 147 

ing reports, taken from available sources, principally from 
the Raleigh Sentinel, furnish some interesting incidents of 
this memorable campaign, as well as a general summary 
of the points discussed and the impressions made by the 
speakers : 

RUTHERFORDTON, N. C., July 25, 1876. 

Vance and Settle opened the campaign Tuesday to 4,000 people. 
Vance opened in a speech of an hour and a half. Settle followed at 
the same length, and each replied in half hour speeches. Vance made 
a telling speech and gained votes. Settle made a strong partisan 
appeal, and dodged the issues as best he could. The speakers used 
courteous language towards each other, and indulged in no undue 
personalties. The negroes were boisterous for Settle. Settle read a 
letter of Vance with the United States seal, procured in Washington 
City, in regard to making desertion a misdemeanor. Vance held it up 
to the people and showed that much had been suppressed, and only 
garbled extracts made. He said the government denied him access to 
his own official letters, and Settle garbled them to suit himself. He 
was afraid to fight him fairly. (Sensation, and murmurs of "shame 
on Settle," "a villainous act," &c.) Vance arraigned Settle for 
sympathizing with the Kirk war, raising a company and resigning to 
run for office, and the Republicans for fraud and peculation, civil 
rights, hard times and heavy taxes. Vance s denunciation of the civil 
rights bill as one of the pet measures of the radical part} 7 was one of 
the best efforts of his life, and must have a telling effect among the 
white Republications of the mountain country if repeated in his 
future speeches. Settle made an appeal to the negroes, went over 
the ku-klux raw-head and bloody-bones stories, quoted Joe Turner 
and blamed Vance for faithlessness to the Confederacy. The Spartan- 
burg band accompanied Vance. There was little demonstration for 
Settle. Both made powerful speeches. The mountains are afire for 
Vance. 

BAKERSVII,I,E, N. C., August 3d, 1876. 

The day was a very huge one in this town, the mountain roads 
fairly streamed with people coming to hear the candidates speak, and 
the little town was already swarmed over with as many as could be 
packed on the streets. A delegation of about eighty rat-tail mules and 
as many young men and boys, with flags in their hands, escorted 
Judge Settle into town, screaming to keep their courage up, and rally 
ing their hats around a very sickly looking Hayes and Settle flag. The 
men that met Vance meant business. They represented all sections 
of the county, and the neighboring counties around, and there wasn t 
a child just weaned among them. They rode to town in good order, 
preserving the dignity and behavior of men who are determined to 
win and are assured of the victory before them. The ladies had pre- 



148 LIFE OF VANCE. 

pared a beautiful campaign banner, which floated proudly over the 
town. As Vance alighted at the boarding house of Mrs. Penlands the 
crowd gave three rousing cheers for Vance and reform. 

The discussion to-day was before the largest crowd ever known in 
Mitchell county. It is a finely matched couple, Vance and Settle ; two 
of the handsomest men in the State, and each with a master mind to 
grapple with. Vance shows to advantage over Settle from his long 
experience on the stump, in fact, he was born for that business. And 
another advantage he has, he only appeals to the good judgment of the 
people while Settle opens up the old war sores and tries to make cap 
ital out of their prejudices in holding up Vance s war record. Vance 
figures up the great stealings and corruptions of the administration 
party and calls on Settle to stand to them or deny them, and Settle an 
swers by not answering at all, and dodges the question behind Vance s 
war record. The people see this too plainly. Many Republicans ex 
pressed themselves much dissatisfied at Judge Settle s course in regard 
to these questions. 

The nine questions which stun the judge are as follows : 
Was Holden s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus legal ? 
Which of the constitutional amendments are good ? 
How did the South get out of the Union ? 
Were the reconstruction acts constitutional ? 
Can Congress confer the right of suffrage ? 
Was the Louisiana outrage constitutional ? 
Was Judge Settle not elected to the supreme bench by fraud ? 
Does Judge Settle approve Grant s administration ? 
Does he approve the civil rights bill ? 
Was desertion from the army right ? 

These questions Settle dealt with playfully, saying they had no 
sense in them, and reminded him of the question, if corn was fifty 
cents a bushel, and three pecks to the bushel, how mnch would it take 
to shingle a house ? He then retired into winter quarters behind 
Vance s war record. To say Vance has gained votes in this radical 
county would only be speaking the general sentiment of the people, 
and to declare further the strong probability of his carrying the 
county, is only rehearsing what some of the Republicans have whis 
pered with fear. 

The bearing of the two men on the stump is admirable. The 
utmost good feeling prevails, and while hard blows are "hit and 
received they are given with an entiente cordiale which keeps the 
crowd in a good humor and arouses no personal bad feeling. Settle 
said to-day that during all their canvass, the people had sat silent and 
heard them for their cause as if sitting in a church. 

Fifty men who heard Vance yesterday at Burnsville,in Yancey coun 
ty, followed him over to Bakersville, and when it is remembered they 
had to swim their horses over a swollen river and travel for miles over 



UFE OF VANCE. 149 

the roughest, rockiest road in the United States, it s a straw to show 
how he stands in the mountains. 

" I want to hear Vance ," said Mr. Gaddy from South Carolina, 
whom the reporier met on the Western road. He got off at Marion 
and rode thirty-five miles across the Blue Ridge and heard Vance to 
day. 

" Let me know in Richmond if Vance speaks in Rockingham, and 
I will come up on the train and hear him, " said A. Y. Stokes, of Rich 
mond, Va., to the reporter last Monday. 

The people followed him in crowds all along the road, shaking 
hands and talking. 

A large number of Republicans in Mitchell county have their 
children named after Zeb. Vance. 

JONESBORO, N. C., August 25, 1876. 

Vance and Settle met in discussion at Jonesboro to-day. There 
were 3,000 people present from Moore, Wake, Chatham and Cumber 
land counties. It was the elephant day of the campaign. Fayette- 
ville with band and banners, and the boldest boys that ever stepped 
behind brass music, turned out 800 strong. Old gray-headed men, such 
as W. R. Hill and the venerable Steadman, marched in procession 
with the Tilden and Vance Club. And when Raleigh met Fayetteville, 
and the clubs all joined, with Jonesboro one thousand strong in the 
middle, and the little cannon from Fayetteville barking every minute, 
the negroes and few white radicals thought the world was coming to 
an end for Vance. In this way they marched him to the stand. 

Judge Settle was carried up, all the way with General Stephen 
Douglass, in a carriage decked with flowers, a gentleman and his lady 
in a carriage behind, and eighteen white men, some in their shirt 
sleeves, on chicken-breasted nags, and an entire cornfield of negroes 
yelling like yahoos at the tag end of the line. 

Settle lead off for one hour and a half in a characteristic speech. 
He charged Vance with being the principal cause of the destruction of 
two-thirds of all the property in the State as compared with 1860, be 
cause he had continued the war two years longer than w r as necessary ; 
that Vance had lost the children of the State $2,000,000 school fund by 
investing in bonds to help the Confederacy, which bonds were repudi 
ated at the end of the war ; that Democrats and Republicans had voted 
for the special tax bonds ; that the expenses of the United States gov 
ernment under Buchanan s administration was $1.98 per head ; that 
Bristow s report shows that for every thousand dollars collected as 
duties upon customs only one cent on the thousand dollars so collected 
was lost ; that of every thousand dollars of internal revenue collected 
only $1.33 of every thousand dollars so collected was lost ; that in 
Jackson s time $17. co on the thousand was lost. He spoke of the 
94,000 office holders, and said that 65,000 were postmasters. He read 
from the new revenue law, as passed by the last Congress, as being 



150 LIFE OF VANCE. 

more stringent than the old one. He said that according to Vance s 
definition that he (Settle) deserted the Confederate army in May 1862, 
and Vance deserted in August following. He then referred to Vance s 
war record. Read from Vance s letter to General Lee asking for two 
regiments of calvary to quarter upon the people ; that Vance had be 
trayed the Union men who elected him in 1863, and got to be such a 
war man that he wanted to fight till hell froze over and then fight on 
the ice. He then read other letters of Vance s bearing upon the war. 
Vance replied for an hour and a half. He said he had no quarrel 
with the great mass of the Republican party. His quarrel was with 
the Republican leaders. If any party is kept in power too long, they 
become corrupt, and think the offices belong to them. That the Re 
publican party was born of a violation of the constitution. Its first 
act was to set the slaves free by violence. He had fought four years 
to keep the negroes in slavery and he would fight sixteen to keep one 
of them from belonging to him. If he owned a full-blooded radical, 
he would swap him off for a dog and kill the dog. [Laughter.] All 
three of the co-ordinate branches of the government had agreed in de 
claring the States not out of the Union, yet Congress, in 1867, had 
legislated them out for the purpose of perpetuating political power 
and to impose conditions on the people. One-fourth of the whites 
were disfranchised and all the negroes were enfranchised. That his 
competitor had no word of condemnation for the Louisiana outrage, 
for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the Kirk war. 
That Settle talked of signs of war ; that he had seen between that 
place and Asheboro fields of rye and plenty of sorghum boiling, and 
that looked like war. [Laughter.] 

He then referred to the finances, and showed that from 1789 to 1861, 
a period of 72 years, the total expenses of the government were $1,581,- 
ooo. From 1861 to 1875, 14 years, $5,220,000 ; take out four years of 
war and expenses for ten years of peace from 1865 to 1875, was $2,084,- 
ooo, nearly twice as much as for 72 years before the war. That 
$4,495,000 had been collected by the internal revenue, and of that 
sum $1,500,000 had been stolen. 

He then spoke of the increase of the office-holders from 46,000 in 
1860 to 94,000 in 1876. He was severe on the revenue officers who 
could lie down and drink out of a branch and tell if there was a still 
five miles up it, and who could look at a man s track and tell whether 
he was toting a quart of whiskey or a two gallon jug. [Laughter.] 
He alluded to the loss of the negroes by the Freedmen s bank, of the 
$1,500,000 loaned by Secretary Robeson and lost to the government ; 
of the Belknap scandal ; and that Elaine had said to Munn, of Chicago, 
that he (Elaine) had no influence with Grant, nor had any other man 
unless he was a thief. That there had been so much corruption in the 
country that the man in the mo.on had to hold his nose when he passed 
over the earth. He alluded to the civil rights bill as the entering wedge 



LIFE OF VANCE. 151 

to social equality. Read Kilpatrick s letter about the bloody shirt 
campaign in Indiana, and said it was to stir up old prejudices why 
Settle took up half of his time with his war record. It was like the 
boy who had been to college and had gone home ashamed of his old 
daddy. One day the old man was mowing hay and his dinner of cheese 
and crackers was sent him. The old man commenced to eat and the 
son pulled out a microscope and looked at the cheese and told the old 
man that the cheese was full of animalculae. The old man says " full 
of what ?" and took the glass and looked and said, " I believe it is full, 
son," and went on eating, saying, if they can stand it lean." If you 
people can live on your prejudices and pay attention to my war record, 
I can stand it if you can. 

He then read the resolutions introduced by Settle in the Legislature 
in 1854, showing that Settle was a secessionist, that he had taken oath 
to support the Confederate States constitution, and when war got 
hotter and times were squally, he thought he ought to stick closer. 
That he and Seymour, of New York, had maintained the supremacy 
of the writ of habeas corpus, while Settle, as Judge, had aided Holden 
to suspend that writ. Here it commenced to rain, and the crowd, 
after an interval of an hour, assembled in front of Buchanan s store. 

After the heavy rain had run the crowd from the first stand the 
candidates finished their reply speeches in the upper portico of Ryan 
& Buchanan s store. A great mass of human beings stood below in 
the street, nearly all of them wet, and some few up to their chins in 
hard cider and mean whiskey. Judge Settle waxed fiercer than usual 
in his recital ef ku-klux outrages in 1870. This set the bad blood to 
work in the whiskey men. They groaned at the Judge. He flushed 
at once with anger. They groaned again. He then denounced them. 
He said, " I tell you, those ku-klux were men like you who bray at 
me; you scoundrels; you infernal fiends of hell, you!" 

" Hurrah for Vance!" yelled the crowd. 

Judge Settle "If my competitor does not rebuke you for this 
conduct, he is not the gentleman I have always found him in this 
campaign. If he does not tell you he wishes no help from such as 
you, he is not the gentleman I have always known him since our 
boyhood." 

Another groan and cries for Vance. 

Settle " Will the decent people of Moore county suffer me to be 
thus interrupted by a mob?" (The Judge was about to sit down). 
Vance arose and calmed the troubled waters and the crowd cried, 
" keep quiet, men," " silence! " 

The Judge then continued on the subject of habeas corpus, and 
cooled off rapidly at every inch of returning reason. He did Vance 
the justice to say that he believed he never in all of his life laid hand 
on any woman save in the way of kindness. (The crowd clapped their 
hands.) The Judge closed. 



152 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Vance arose, perfectly at home and three times as natural, and 
told the crowd he knew that the handful of men who had interrupted 
his competitor were wet at the time, both inside and out, that the 
campaign had always been pleasant between them, and wherever 
Settle s friends had predominated he had always been treated with 
respect. He could not tolerate such conduct in those men, and at the 
same time he condemned the severe language used towards them by 
Judge Settle. He thought in his cooler moments the Judge would see 
his own mistake and apologize for such hasty speech. The admirable 
self-poise of Vance, the easy way he smoothed the passion of the 
crowd, and set the Judge himself to laughing, won him the full 
measure of a well balanced man in the minds of all that crowd, and 
the sun set on as brilliant a Vance victory at Jonesboro as it has 
reddened in the whole campaign. Judge Settle arose after Vance and 
explained how easily such taunts could provoke a speaker into mad 
ness/- that he had no reference in his offensive language to those of 
the ku-klux who had never hung or stabbed or drowned, (and right 
here a half drunken fellow brayed): "but I do not wish you, sir, to 
take any of this apology to yourself." 

CARTHAGE, N. C., Aug. 24, 1876. 

The signs were never better than in Randolph county. The con 
servatives are doing splendid work. In 1868 this county gave a radical 
majority of 800. In 1870 but one radical official was elected in the 
entire county, and he was badly scared in making the trip. In 1872 
the Democrats elected three commissioners, and W. J. Page was elected 
register of deeds by a majority of 75. In 1874 the democrats elected 
their legislative ticket. This year the most doubtful conservatives are 
sanguine of success. Ashboro gave Vance a most enthusiastic recep 
tion, and he gave Ashboro one of his best efforts of the campaign. 
The Tilden and Vance club paraded at night with transparences and a 
band of music. 

At Moffitt s Mill the next day the crowd was large, and as many 
as 200 women sat attentive hearers. Every second woman held an 
infant in her lap. The speakers made their usual efforts, though two 
remarks from a couple of the crowd are worthy of note : One said 
Vance could keep his temper easier than Settle, and the other, a prom 
inent Republican, seemed chafed with Judge Settle because he didn t 
"set that Louisiana outrage straight." He reasoned it could be easily 
done. 

At night there was a Tilden and Vance jubilee and torchlight pro 
cession in the woods. Never was seen anything like it. The dense, 
dark woods ; men and women sitting around the camp fires, and about 
thirty covered wagons packed. Some 250 fell into line, the wagoners 
with the ladies on their arms, and marched up and down the road, with 
transparencies, two fiddles in front, scratching the very agonies out of 
< Old Molly Hare." Every throat was double-loaded with shouts for 



LIFE OF VANCE. 153 

Zeb. Vance. The crowd then formed in front of Moffitt s store, where 
seats were improvised for the women, and two or three men held 
torches and tallow candles, while Dr. Worth delivered a short planta 
tion talk that fitted exactly, and which every man stored away on his 
memory string. They next called lustily for Marmaduke Robins, and 
he answered in a short, sharp, energetic speech, characteristic of the un 
tiring worker and ready speaker he is. As the crowd pushed around the 
stand, dark as pitch, some fellow would sing out, "don t crowd the 
ladies." The wagoners hitched up lale at night aud drove home with 
their families, some fifteen or twenty miles to go. Gov. Vance left 
that evening for Alfred Brewer s, in Moore county. 

At Carter s Mill, in Moore, the crowd was two-thirds radical. 
That section was a laying-out place during the war, and known as the 
"United States." Vance wore winning feathers when the sun set 
that evening. He had the drop on Settle in having the last speech 
and the Judge got to questioning him. Asked him if he wanted North 
Carolina to pay her war debt ? Vance said he thought a portion of 
the school fund might have been paid, but nothing else. 

"Now let me ask a question," said Vance, "do you think deser 
tion right or wrong? " The crowd stood thick around Vance, nearly 
touching him. 

Judge Settle, rising : " I say this, if " 

Vance : " Ah, now, now ; no dodging. I answered you right out. 
Yes or no ? " 

Judge Settle then said if a man was conscripted and left the army 
because of strong Union proclivities, he thought he did right. 

Vance: "Now, another question, since questioning is the order of 
the day: Was Holden right or wrong in suspending the writ of habeas 
corpus ?" 

Settle, again rising : "The principal " 

Vance: "Ah, now, now, now; say right or wrong." 

Judge Settle was gesticulating over Vance s shoulders, and the 
crowd thick around them, stood peeping up for an answer. 

The judge was understood to admit that at such a peculiar time, 
while murders were going on, Holden, under the new constitution, 
had the discretion to do as he did. 

Vance: "Then after the twenty-sixth time, I have at last got an 
answer, that Holden was right in suspending the writ." 

Judge Settle, springing to his feet the second time, declared it had 
never been decided whether Holden had the right or not it was still 
an open question. 

Vance picked up a pamphlet. 

Settle: "I know what you are going to read; that decision on us." 

Vance: "No, I m not; this is the new constitution. It says that 
the writ of habeas corpus shall never be suspended." 

The crowd could not help laughing. The truth is Judge Settle was 



154 LIFE OF VANCE. 

provoked, and yet he knew to get mad would be foolish, and still his 
fine, nervous and sensitive nature could not withstand the impertur 
bability of Vance s questions (and such questions at that) without 
showing that he was right smartly exercised in mind. 

That evening after speaking, the Judge said: 

"Hang you, Vance, you do take so many turns on me in your 
replies." 

"The Lord is with me," said Vance. 

"The devil s with you," replied the Judge, laughing. 

VANCE S TALK AT METROPOLITAN HALL. 

In a brief conversational resume of his campaign, Governor Vance 
declared he never knew such enthusiasm and excitement to prevail 
among the people. It was not an artificial excitement, but a singular 
instance of the people stirring up the politicians. He had entered 
Mitchell county knowing it had not given Judge Merrimon more than a 
hundred votes in the last campaign, and thinking of course the people 
were one to three against him, his heart sank within him as he crossed 
Tow river and entered the county. About three miles over the line, 
in company with some ten men they came to a spring and a woman sat 
on the grass under an apple tree. She came to bring them a cup to 
give them some water, and seeing him, cried out, " Great goodness ! 
ain t that Zeb. Vance? " And then it was, said Vance, she reversed 
the order of things as they had it on me in Randolph, and instead of 
my squeezing a woman s thumbs under the fence, she hugged me. 
Going a little further he beheld about a regiment of men on horse 
back, and they waved a United States flag ; they were coming up the 
hill and he was going down the hill, and he at once felt down-hearted, 
for he thought them the enemy ; but they raised a shout and it was the 
old familiar cry for Vance and Tilden. They call it Vance and Tilden 
up that way. At the speaking that day the applause was fairly divided 
between him and Settle. Then again at Wilkesboro, the stronghold of 
the enemy, a cavalcade rode over the river to meet Judge Settle, con 
sisting of a revenue officer and a deputy postmaster and took their 
places behind his competitor s hack in a procession of two. A short 
while after forty men rode over to meet him, and at his own request 
they fell behind the conveyance of his competitor and escorted them 
both into town, and but for the color of the hair and the look out of the 
eyes of the two Settle men it might have been thought that Settle was 
the man escorted and not himself. The enthusiasm was increasing in 
stead of subsiding, a perfect groundswell among the people, and the 
only thing was to keep it up to carry the State by several thousand. 
The Democrats all look joyful and full of life, while, as chicken men 
would say, there is a hacked look about the Republicans. Even crowds 
from South Carolina had come over to hear them speak, or rather to 
hear me, said Vance, for they are straight-haired people over there, 
and I take all the compliment to myself, like the negro named Alick, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 155 

who used to wait on the executive office here when I was Governor. 
I formed quite an attachment for Alick ; he was an honest, good negro. 
I met him while Holden was Governor, and he was still waiting on the 
executive office, and I said to him, " Alick, I am glad to shake the hand 
of an honest officer in this department." "Yes, sir, " he replied, 
" I am here yit. " He took all the compliment to himself. Governor 
Vance closed by introducing Major Englehard to the audience. 

VANCE AND SETTLE AT LEXINGTON. 

Judge Settle and the reporters arrived here last night from Greens 
boro. The News and Sentinel men put up at Penny s Hotel, where 
they were joined at 9 this morning by Gov. Vance, who came in from 
Charlotte, whither he went from Greensboro yesterday. There was a 
sharp frost this morning, followed by a clear, bright beautiful day. Peo 
ple began to cram the town at an early hour. When Vance appeared upon 
the street he was immediately surrounded by a crowd, who followed 
him everywhere he went. Hundreds waded in for a handshaking. 
To one persistent chap Vance finally remarked : " Look here, you are 
taking advantage of the rest ; you shook hands with me up yonder." 
One man came up and accosted Vance with the remark ; "I was a 
deserter, Governor. " "Well," said Vance, "did I treat you like a 
dog?" "No, I reckon not," was the reply. "You gave me a 2o-days 
furlough the first pop." 

United States Senator Matt. W. Ransom and his brother, General 
Robert Ransom, were present, and by special invitation occupied seats 
upon the stand. An appointment had been made some weeks before 
for a speech at this same place to-day from Senator Ransom, which, 
however, was waived on account of the joint discussion. The meet 
ing was held in Lowe s grove. The crowd numbered not far from 
4,000, nearly all white. The ladies came out numerously, as usual. 
Judge Settle opened the debate. He requested that he might receive 
no applause or demonstration of any kind in his remarks, as he should 
use no anecdotes, and suggested rather needlessly that all such mani 
festations should be reserved for his competitor. He said it would 
take his whole time to read the list of Democratic thieves, but he 
would give the name of one in North Carolina the late superintend 
ent of public instruction. The matter of finance, taxes and govern 
mental expense was then gone over at length. He next took up the 
reconstruction measures adopted by the radicals after the war, and 
charged that the rejection of the Constitution offered to the people by 
the convention of 1865 made these arbitrary and unconstitutional acts 
necessary. The late constitutional convention and the proposed 
amendments were animadverted upon. 

In denouncing Hon. E. Ransom he remarked he was glad he was 
no connection of Senator Ransom and his distinguished brother. The 
war matter was dilated upon at length; the copied letters, now pretty 
nearly worn out by use, were read and commented upon, and a 



156 LIFE OF VANCE. 

strenuous appeal was made to the passions of the audience. As Settle 
concluded there were loud calls and cheers for Vance. So great and 
general was the enthusiasm, almost the entire audience rising and 
throwing up their hats, that it really seemed that old Davidson county, 
though heretofore regarded as a radical stronghold, was about unani 
mous for Vance. The crowd increased considerably as he commenced. 
The Governor declared that he came to speak of the present and the 
future and not, ghoul-like, to drag to light the corpse of the dead past. 
The Republican party had never regarded constitutional limitations 
when such restrictions stood in the way of their partisan schemes; but 
whenever the exigencies of party demanded it, the constitution and 
laws went to the wall and w ere disregarded. The means taken to force 
the adoption of the Canby constitution were signal instances of this 
contempt for law. Despite the fact that that constitution disfranchised 
no one, the politico-military condition of soldiers and carpet-baggers, 
instead of waiting until the constitution went into operation before 
filling the offices created by it, thereby giving all, entitled by its pro 
visions to vote, an opportunity to participate in the choice of their 
rulers, the election of State officers was made to take place on the very 
same three days on which the instrument itself was voted on, thus 
depriving 20,000 of the best citizens of suffrage, when they were ex 
pressly entitled to vote for all officers, both State and county, and 
could have done so had the election of those officers been postponed a 
few weeks later. So, four years ago, Akerman and Delano, members 
of Grant s Cabinet, came down here and told us if we voted for Greeley 
we would be remitted to military rule. The arbitrary order of Secre 
tary Taft relative to Federal supervisions was severely criticised. A 
splendid eulogy was pronounced on writ of habeas corpus. Kirk said 
that writ was "played out when he tore it into gun wadding. Holden 
said it was dead. But resurgam was written on its tomb, and in 
August, 1870, it rose again to the tune of a big democratic majority. 
Vance then went into the expenditures of the government, promising 
that he was not very fond of figures, particularly when they were on a 
bill which some fellow presented him when he was short of change. 
The whole speech was enlivened by similar passages of humor, which 
told wonderfully upon the multitude. 

In response to Judge Settle s oft repeated charges that he sent men 
not subject to conscription into the army, Governor Vance said that the 
only man within his personal knowledge who was "illegally con 
scripted and rushed off to the front before he could kiss his wife and 
babes, much less apply for a writ of habeas corpus," was that anti 
quated bachelor, Font Taylord, of Raleigh, who had no wife nor babes 
to kiss, and that he (Vance) went to Richmond and had him turned 
loose. 

WENTWORTH, October lyth, 1876. 

In consequence of the train from Charlotte being detained three 
hours, Gov. Vance and Judge Settle could not get away from Lexing- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 157 

ton till ii o clock a. m. On our arriving at Reidsville we found at least 
1,500 people assembled at the station, including a delegation of some 
thing like 200 from Danville, Va. Vance was welcomed with the usual 
acclamations that greet him everywhere. The press about him was so 
great that he found right smart difficulty in getting into the hotel. 
Some misunderstanding had arisen as to the place of meeting, and 
numerous conflicting telegrams and posters had made it very doubtful 
whether Reidsville or Wentworth would be the arena of the grand 
gladiatorial contest. A communication was received from Governor 
David S. Reid, chairman of the Rockingham county Democratic 
committee, and Mr. Reynolds, chairman of the Republican county 
committee, stating that 3,000 people, representing by far the larger 
part of the citizens of Rockingham, had assembled at Wentworth, and 
requesting that the appointment should by no means be changed from 
Wentworth to Reidsville. Governor Vance and Judge Settle there 
upon appeared on the hotel balcony and announced that the discussion 
would take place at Wentworth. After dinner we drove to the pretty 
village of Wentworth, seven miles back from the railroad. The road 
was hilly but free from rocks. The crowd assembled at Wentworth 
had been dismissed by Governor Reid before we started ; but most of 
them turned back. Governor Vance was received at the edge of town 
by a mounted escort and a brass band. He proceeded at once to the 
old academy grove selected for the speaking. Ex-Governor David S. 
Reid occupied a seat on the stand. Fully 3,000 men were present, but 
not more than half a dozen ladies, who sat in carriages on the out 
skirts of the crowd. I counted seven and one-half men up trees. The 
half man was a boy. 

At 4 o clock p. m. Governor Vance opened the discussion. Dur 
ing the speech a loose mule made some disturbance, when Vance 
remarked that it was only one of those mules that were to go with 
the forty acres. Governor Vance rather changed the style and order 
of his speech this evening. He told fewer anecdotes than usual. 
His remarks were mainly upon the tyranical conduct of the adminis 
tration towards the South, the flagrant disregard of the great writ 
habeas corpus, 800 years old, the misrule and anarchy in South 
Carolina, the attempt to overrun the people by supervision of elections, 
fraud, peculations and corruption of the financial officers of the 
national, State and county governments. He spoke with rapidity and 
earnestness, with just enough touches of humor to relieve the 
monotony and keep his remarks from being tedious. 

During Judge Settle s reply, the lateness of the hour made the 
crowd rather restless, then Governor Vance asked them, as a matter 
of justice and fair play, to stay and hear him out. As the darkness 
grew, however, many went away, others became boisterous and 
noisy. Two lanterns were brought and placed on the stand. The 
interruption continued. Governor Vance rose several times and 



158 LIFE OF VANCE. 

pleaded for order. Judge Settle finally became indignant and 
remarked, " I don t know who you are, whether you are Virginians 
or North Carolinians, but I do know you are behaving like scoundrels. 
You who are interrupting me in this manner are no gentlemen. 
Before I will submit to such interruption I will close my remarks, 
although there are several points I proposed to speak upon. One 
drunken blackguard can break up a whole meeting." Judge Settle 
closed after being up an hour and a quarter. 

Gov. Vance then rose and said that as Judge Settle had t been in 
terrupted and was unable to fill out his time, he would wave his reply. 
The large crowd then quietly dispersed. Gov. Vance and Judge Settle 
drove back to Reidsville, where we expect to take the freight train at 
midnight for Greensboro. * Thence they go to Beaufort to meet an ap 
pointment for Thursday. Next day at Swift Creek village the big joint 
canvass of the centennial year winds up. 

KINSTON, N. C., Oct. 23, 1876. 

Governor Vance and party left Newbern for this beautiful rural 
village at 5:40 a. m., arriving at 8 o clock. A large crowd met him at 
the depot of the Atlantic and North Carolina railroad. The Greenville 
Cornet Band was in attendance. A horseman bore a large United 
States flag. When Governor Vance left the cars the multitude opened 
ranks, forming two long parallel lines, ten deep on each side, facing 
inwards. Profound silence was maintained till Vance appeared at the 
foot of this double line. Then three sky-rending cheers arose, as if 
with the voice of one man and he a giant. Governor Vance s carriage 
was escorted through the main streets of the town to a hotel by a cav 
alcade of mounted men, followed by a long procession in vehicles and 
on foot. The ladies thronged the porches and crowded the windows 
of every house, waving white handkerchiefs in token of welcome to 
the coming of the great liberator of North Carolina. It was an ova 
tion such as a Bolivar or a Napoleon might envy. Shortly after reach 
ing the hotel, Governor Vance, accompanied by Hon. John F. Wooten, 
appeared upon the balcony, in response to the unanimous wish of the 
assembled multitude. He said nothing. His noble presence was 
sufficient of itself. Bowing in courteous acknowledgement of the 
warm applause that greeted him, he retired to his room, where for up 
wards of an hour, he received his friends, white and colored, and 
shook hands with them. A similar reception was held a little later at 
the office of Col. Wooten, the Democratic elector for the second con 
gressional district. 

The stand for the speaking was erected at the south end of the 
Lenoir county court house. It was draped in pure white, beautifully 
festooned with cedar, ivy, holly and other evergreens, brightened here 
and there with flowers. A standard at one end of the platform bore 
the legend : " Vance, the People s Choice." 

Opposite this was a magnificent American flag. On the stand were 



LIFE OF VANCE. 159 

a number of the oldest citizens of the county, whose venerable forms 
and heads white with the frosts of many winters, gave an impressive 
dignity to the occasion. Hundreds of beautiful ladies, maids and ma 
trons, added to Vance s reception the attractiveness of their glorious 
charms. In the rear of the stand, and immediately fronting the court 
house, was the band wagon, handsomely decorated. The crowd num 
bered fully 3,000. Many citizens were present from Greene, Wayne, 
Jones, Onslow and Craven. 

Governor Vance was introduced by Col. Wooten. He commenced 
by saying that in the absence of his competitor he was like a black 
smith beating the anvil without any iron. 

Governor Vance s first proposition was that it was necessary to 
make a change in the administration of the State and national govern 
ments. This was indicated by the political axiom laid down in all our 
American bills of rights that frequent elections are needful to the 
preservation of popular freedom. That axiom is based upon the idea 
that opportunity for a change of parties should be given to the people. 

The fdllacy of supporting Hayes as a change from Grant was 
clearly shown. It is a duck before two ducks, a duck behind two 
ducks, and a duck between two ducks. 

The Republican party came into power the 4th of March, 1861, and 
has had a longer lease of power than any other in our history. What 
has it done, and what is its history, and its present attitude ? 

Constitutions are made for the protection of minorities against 
the tyranny of majorities. They are intended to secure the rights of 
the weak against the strong, and to maintain the liberties of the indi 
vidual citizen. 

The Republican party is the legitimate descendant of the old aboli 
tion party, which used to discard the constitution, Bible, the church, 
and even God himself. 

Six months after Congress solemnly declared that it had no pur 
pose to interfere with slavery, Lincoln issued his proclamation of 
emancipation, thereby giving the lie to the professions of his party. 

When the war ended, we of the South were still in the Union. 
We had not fought our way out, and were held by all the departments 
of the Federal government to be still in the Union. Congress passed 
an act dissolving the very Union they had fought four years for, spent 
billions of dollars and sacrificed thousands of lives to maintain. 

They passed another act providing, after putting us out, how we 
might come back. They wanted us to come back, if we came at all, as 
radicals. They wanted us to play the part of the prodigal son, but 
when we got home, we were marched around the chimney of the great 
house right slam into the kitchen. The Louisiana infamy was then 
detailed and commented upon at length. This reconstruction action 
was most flagrantly violative of the constitution. Chief Justice Waite 
has decided that these acts of Congress attempting to regulate suffrage 



l6o LIFE OF VANCE. 

in the States were unconstitutional. For this, however, the radicals 
care nothing. The radical administration has never hesitated to pass 
the barriers of constitution and laws when party exigencies required 
it. The anarchy now prevailing in South Carolina was graphically 
portrayed. The multitudinous arrests now being made in that State, 
evince a fixed purpose not to allow a fair and free election. And, here 
in North Carolina, John Pool declares in public speeches that if Tilden 
is elected by the vote of a solid South, the North will not suffer his 
inauguration. 

The Governor spoke at length upon the subject of taxation and 
corrupt and extravagant expenditures of the people s money. The 
best government in the world is that which is cheapest. When money 
abounds in the Treasury there will be much more abuse. Radicalism 
has inaugurated a corruption, a venality, a misappropriation of the 
public funds, unparalleled in history. Jobbery, rings, peculation, 
fraud, have fattened upon the Federal Treasury. The rottenness of 
the radical biscuit was illustrated by the story of the boy and the cod 
fish ball at the hotel. From 1789 to 1861 72 years 1,581 trillion dol 
lars covered the entire expense of the general government. In the 
14 years since the cost has been 5,220 millions, or leaving out the 
four years of the war 2,034 millions in the last 10 years. 

In the whole course of Vance s speech, he made no statements of 
either facts or figures at all varying from those made by him in the 
joint discussions throughout the State with Judge Settle. The speech 
was eminently honest, ingenuous and fair ; and it impressed its hearers 
as such. 

In characterizing the 40,000 internal revenue officers, Vance said 
they could look at a man s track in the sand and tell whether he was 
toting a quart or a four gallon jug. They can smell your breath at 
10 o clock a. m. and tell whether the dram you took before breakfast 
was tax-paid or not. The "designated assistant United States Inter 
nal Revenue Assessors," appointed in 1872 in North Carolina, at $5.00 
per day, were commissioned for the express purpose of aiding the 
radicals in their campaign ; and the people had to pay the cost of 
them. A diminutive but fat and portly specimen of these gentry was 
exhibited in the form of a red-legged, Nebraska corn-eating grass 
hopper, corked up in a phial and up to his chin in whiskey, his 
congenial element. 

North Carolina was pre-eminently an agricultural State, having 
but little commercial or manufacturing interest as compared with 
other States. Upon communities thus mainly made up of farmers, 
the weight of taxation always falls most heavily. 

The only reply of the radicals to the charges of corruption and 
malfeasance is "war! war! war!" Is it any reason that you should 
support thieves because I and my friends were war men ? Vote for 
Tilden and Hendricks. A change may help, but cannot hurt us. If 



LIFE OF VANCE. l6l 

the men the Democrats put in power go back on you, turn them out. 
Keep turning out and turning out until you get honest men in office 
till you get men who will give us a government men who will fear 
the people if not the Lord. 

Governor Vance then paid his regards to the injurious reports 
which had been circulated against him ; such as that he had a woman 
hanged to get her money when Confederate currency was worth about 
300 to i in specie. No order of his ever sanctioned cruelty. He had 
challenged a vigorous scrutiny of his adjutant general s order book. 
That book could not be found in Raleigh. It had disappeared. He 
next spoke of the "garbled letters," and said, "I am proud of my 
war record. I only wish you and all men could see it all. It shows 
that I steadfastly sustained the civil authority as paramount to the 
military power wherever and whenever they came in conflict. During 
the four years of our civil war but two American Governors did this. 
They were Horatio Seymour, of New York, and myself. I told Jeff. 
Davis, through Secretary Seddon, that in the absence of any Supreme 
Court of the Confederate States, the decisions of the Supreme Court 
of North Carolina were law to me ; and if they were not respected I 
would call upon the militia of my State to enforce them, and further 
that I would issue a proclamation recalling the North Carolina troops 
from Lee s army." 

Towards the close, Governor Vance addressed a few earnest and 
manly words to the colored people present. He told an anecdote of 
the man who gave his hands watermelon to fill them up before meal 
time to save meat and bread ; also of the little Guinea nigger he met 
in Yadkiu who had " taken notice that the Democratic niggers always 
wore the best breeches." 

Governor Vance mentioned incidently that this was his 6gth speech 
in 65 counties of the State during this canvass. The same enthusiasm 
had been witnessed everywhere. There had been nothing like it since 
Governor Morehead s campaign in 1840, when he spoke almost daily 
from March to November. 

Governor Vance spoke two hours and a quarter, closing amidst 
immense applause. A fragrant and beautiful boquet was presented 
to him on behalf of the ladies of Lenoir. Other boquets then came up in 
formally. The band struck up an inspiring air, and the great crowd 
gradually broke up and dispersed. 

This ended one of the most memorable campaigns in 
the history of the State. The people were thoroughly 
aroused from the seaboard to the mountains. And although 
the Republicans had had complete control of all the 
departments of the State government as well as of the 
national government, ever since the close of the war and 

12 



1 62 LIFE OF VANCE. 

had all the election machinery in their own hands, with 
unlimited supplies of money for campaign purposes, and 
although Settle was by far the strongest and most popular 
Republican in the State, yet Vance was elected by a very 
large majority. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 163 



CHAPTER XIII. 

SYMPOSIUM. 

Intelligent Analysis of His Characteristics Strong Portraitures of 
His Boyhood Early Manhood and Mature Life His Pranks 
Fondness for Good Books Studious Habits His Consciousness 
of His Own Strength His Home Life Strong Domestic Attach 
ments Love of Wife and Children His Official Life Hard 
Methodical Worker Great Executive Ability His Oratory 
Power With the Masses His Fondness for the Common People 
Their Wonderful Love and Admiration of Him All Told in Pleas 
ing Style by Able and Discriminating Writers Richard H. Battle, 
Joseph P. Caldwell, Walter Clark, William R. Cox, Wharton J. 
Green, Edward J. Hale, Wade Hampton, Hamilton C. Jones, 
James D. Mclver, William J. Montgomery, William M. Robbins, 
and Alfred M. Waddell. 



following articles from prominent citizens of North 
Carolina, who knew Vance more or less intimately 
and had opportunity to observe and study his traits and 
characteristics, taken together present a grand picture of 
the man, and show in a striking manner, not only his strong 
points of character, but also the secret of his great popu 
larity and influence with the people : 

[From Richard H. Battle.] 

My personal acquaintance with Governor Vance dates from July, 
1851, when, at the age of twenty-one, he went to Chapel Hill to read 
law with my father, the late Judge Battle, and Hon. S. F. Phillips, and 
take a partial course with the Senior class in the University. I was a 
boy of fifteen, just turned Sophomore ; but as young Vance became a 
member of the Dialectic Society, of which I was a very attached mem 
ber, besides reciting his law lessons in my father s office, my acquain 
tance with him was sufficiently intimate for me to form a fair estimate 
of his acquirements and ability. In the debates of the society in which 
he actively participated he sometimes exhibited an intimate acquain 
tance with the Bible, and some of the English classics, notably Shak- 
speare and Sir Walter Scott ; and he often interspersed his arguments 
on the "query" for the evening, with humorous sallies and flashes of 



164 LIFE OF VANCE. 

wit, which much enlivened the dullness of the debates. The law of 
the society against audible smiling he regarded himself, for his cus 
tom was not to laugh at his own wit, but fines for the infringement of 
this law were sometimes poured into the treasury from the inability of 
his hearers to restrain their risibles when Vance would meet the solemn 
arguments of his adversary with sparkling repartee or a funny illus 
tration. While he studied so well as to make a decided impression 
upon his instructors in the law and in the college course, his bon mots 
were soon quoted with glee through the village as well as the college 
buildings. " Have you heard Vance s last? " was a question very fre 
quently asked. 

Looking back, now, at the fifteen years of my life at Chapel Hill as a 
boy, and as student and instructor in the University, I am of the opin 
ion that no one during that period made such an impression in so short 
a time as did young Vance, except possibly (and in a different way) 
Gen. J. Johnson Pettigrew, who displayed, during his college career, a 
capacity for the acquisition of knowledge and to comprehend abstruse 
mathematics that was almost marvelous. 

Vance was possessed of remarkable tact, and was equally popular 
with his instructors, his fellow collegians and the villagers, whose ac 
quaintance he sought. He and Mrs. Spencer, then Miss Cornelia 
Phillips, one of the most intellectual women of the day, became fast 
friends and their friendship continued until his death. President 
Swain, old Dr. Mitchell, and his instructors in law recognized Vance s 
talent and promise for the future ; but few of his fellow students an 
ticipated his subsequent brilliant career. Some thought he was too 
fond of fun and given to levity, to meet the responsibilities of life seri 
ously. To be as solemn as an ass seemed to them a better indication 
for those who would aspire to leadership in after life. I remember 
having to defend Col. Vance against the charge of being a mere jester, 
suggested by officers in the army, when the vote was about to be taken 
for him and the late Col. Wm. Johnston for the office of Governor, in 
August, 1862. His witticisms and anecdotes had become the subject of 
merriment throughout the State, and many could not believe that the 
same man could be so witty and at the same time wise enough to be 
the Governor of a State. 

Reflecting upon his young manhood, I wonder when Vance first 
recognized his superior ability, and that he was destined for a distin 
guished career. His year at Chapel Hill, and the opportunity he had to 
measure himself with young men of ability, who had made good use 
of much better advantages for intellectual training than had been his, 
doubtless gave him confidence in his native powers and what he was 
then acquiring, which contributed to his early and rapid advancement. 
He then acquired an additional power to measure men and things as 
they were, and without undue self-esteem he could see that he pos 
sessed natural gifts which fitted him to contend for public honors in 



LIFE OF VANCE. 165 

the battle of life. So he became a candidate for a seat in the lower 
house of the State Legislature soon after he began the practice of law, 
in his native county, and, being elected, served during the session of 
1854-55. He contended for a seat in the Senate in the next General As 
sembly with Col. David Coleman, the most popular Democrat in the 
countv of Buncombe, but was defeated by a much reduced majority in 
the senatorial district. In the summer of 1858, against the advice of rela 
tives and friends and very heavy odds, he aspired still higher, and 
contested with W. W. Avery, Esq., of Burke, an able and experienced 
politician, a seat in Congress, made vacant by Hon. T. L. Clingman s 
elevation to the United States Senate. To the suprise of the people of 
the State he was triumphantly elected. He had learned something of 
his power to sway the minds of men, and especially to capture the young, 
but hardly realized w r hat might be the limitations of his influence. 
He knew himself better than others knew him, and he was not made 
at all vain or conceited, because, to use his peculiar phrase, he had 
" set the mountains on fire," and in one campaign made a change of 
4,500 votes. 

I will not invade the province of the historian of his life by tell 
ing of his career in Congress, on the hustings, between 1858 and 1861, 
and as captain of a company and colonel of a regiment from April, 
1861 to August, 1862. The world knows how creditable it was to him 
and his State. I will only allude to the wonderful reputation he 
gained, as a popular orator, when Whigs and Conservatives from all 
parts of the State met in mass-meeting in Salisbury to make a 
stand for the Union, in 1860. Notwithstanding that Morehead, and 
Graham, and Badger and other men of acknowledged ability and influ 
ence were there, young Vance became the idol of the multitude. The 
magnetic effect of his set oration in the day and his shorter speeches 
at street corners, to one and another of which he was almost drag 
ged by excited friends, at night, was such that the whole State rang 
with his praises. The great and logical Badger, on his return to Ral- 
leigh, said to an intimate friend : " You ought to have heard young 
Vance at Salisbury ! He is the greatest stump speaker that ever 
was ! " Wonderful praise from such a man ! 

All who was privileged to hear the speech he delivered in front of 
the Court House in Raleigh, in the summer of 1864, would not qualify 
much this apparently extravagant praise of Mr. Badger. He was then 
a candidate for re-election, opposed by W. W. Holden, the editor of the 
Raleigh Standard, and who two years before had been his fast friend. 
Mr. Hplden s paper was insidiously throwing discredit on the Confed 
erate cause, and he was understood to be a peace candidate. He had 
many friends and adherents in Raleigh, including the editor of the 
Daily Progress, and more in the country around, and his opposition was 
formidable. Governor Vance had to capture or negative the influence 
of these men, and at the same time give no offence to the original 



1 66 LIFE OF VANCE. 

secessionists, some of whom could not yet fully trust one who had 
once been such an advocate for the Union. He was between two fires. 
In the speech of two or three hours he made that day, he captured the 
entire large audience. He at least silenced all opposition. By nature, 
candid and sincere, he resolved to fire the patriotism of his hearers by 
giving full expression to that which burned in his own breast. He 
spoke like one inspired , and the response to his arguments and ap 
peals was all he could have wished. Ladies were there in numbers, 
peering from the windows or sitting in carriages in front of the Yar- 
boro House. The street was full of men and boys, all intensely eager 
to catch every word. Cheers and tears alternated with heartiest 
laughter, as he would occasionally relieve the tension of his audience 
by an apt anecdote or an amusing story. For true eloquence, pathos, 
wit, sarcasm, irony and scathing denunciation I have never heard that 
speech excelled. I have doubted whether Henry Clay himself could 
have delivered one more effective. 

My acquaintance with Governor Vance was most intimate during 
the last three years of the war, when, as Governor of the State, he 
developed his phenomenal talents and powers of administration and 
leadership. Without any privity on my part (but probably at the sug 
gestion of our common friend, Governor Swain, president of the 
University, opportunely for me for my health was failing in the 
army), I was invited to become his private secretary, upon his inaugu 
ration as Governor, September 8th, 1862. I filled that position until 
August, 1864, when, on the resignation of Hon. S. F. Phillips, to be 
come a member of the Legislature from Orange county, I was appointed 
State Auditor by Governor Vance, and continued in that office and 
daily association with him until the end of the war. During these 
three years I was honored with hi s confidence and, I may add, his 
affectionate friendship. I had ample opportunity to form an estimate 
of his character, disposition and talents. It is said that the " great 
ness of most men diminishes with distance." It was not so with 
Governor Vance. Sometimes when he needed my assistance in copy 
ing and arranging his messages to the Legislature and other papers for 
the public, that we might not be subject to interruption, as we would 
constantly have been in the executive office, we took refuge in his 
home in the old " Governor s Palace " at the southern end of Fayette- 
ville street ; and there we spent the day. During the recess for dinner 
I saw him in familiar intercourse with his family, his wife and little 
boys. I have often remarked, as the result of my observation under 
these circumstances, that he never appeared to greater advantage than 
in his own home with his family. Kind, attentive and indulgent to his 
wife and children, and considerate of the feelings of the servants, noth 
ing of the roughness or want of refinement, which one would naturally 
expect in a successful politician from our mountain district, as it then 
was, appeared in my host in those half hours of recreation. Though in 



LIFE OF VANCE. 167 

the midst of weighty affairs of State, when called to dinner he threw 
them off as we entered the dining room, and he was as easy, natural and 
sparkling with his wife, children and single guest, as if he hadn t a care 
upon him. He acted as if he realized that his " little red-haired wife," 
as he sometimes playfully called her (her hair being a pretty auburn), 
had cares enough of her own, in looking after her servants and four 
vivacious little boys ; and his manner and words were calculated to 
make her forget them, and for the time to see only the bright side of 
a wife s and mother s life. That she looked to "husband" as the 
embodiment of all that was chivalrous and tender, and he to " wife " 
as the divinity of his home, was unmistakable. Perhaps he was too 
much inclined to indulge the children and intercede for them when 
the mother, with stricter notions of discipline, would curb their ebu- 
litions of vivacity or surplus energy. They were devoted to him, but 
hardly more so than was Alex Moore, the servant of the executive 

office, or William , who blacked his shoes, worked the garden and 

waited on the table at the " Palace." 

I need not speak of his conduct of the affairs of the office of Gov 
ernor. The history of the State, and of the war between the States, 
records that he was the great War-Governor of the South, as Morton, 
of Indiana, was of the North. But I should allude to the wonderful 
tact and versatility he displayed, and by which he overcame the preju 
dices, on one hand, of the original secessionists, who had opposed his 
election because of his warm affection for the Union before 1861, and 
those, on the other, of some whose sympathies were hardly, at any 
time, with the Confederacy. He soon succeeded in convincing the 
former that the war being on, North Carolina s honor was pledged to 
its vigorous prosecution, and that when he drew the sword to fight 
her battles he had thrown away the scabbard ; while his protesting, 
almost to the point of rupture, against infringmerit of the reserved 
rights of the State and her citizens by the government at Richmond, 
convinced the latter that North Carolina was safe under his leader 
ship. His cordiality to all who approached him won personal favor, 
and his cheerfulness was inspiring to many who were naturally despon 
dent. Into his office, day after day, streamed men and women of all 
conditions of life, with all sorts of schemes for his adoption, petitions 
for him to grant or refuse, and grievances, real or imaginary, for him 
to redress. The L/egislature was much of the time in regular or extra 
session, and, having the confidence of most of its members, he was 
looked to for advice as to all rnatt&rs affecting our relations to the 
Confederate government, the home guard, etc., indeed as to all matters 
of much importance. 

He took great interest in public education and the corpora 
tions of which the State had part control ; and the Board of Internal 
Improvement, the members of which were appointed by him, were 
frequently in session. Rev. Dr. Calvin II. Wiley, the able and 



l68 LIFE OF VANCE. 

zealous Superintendent of Public Schools, found in him an ever 
warm supporter. The salt works on the coast, needed to supply our 
people with salt, demanded his care ; and his enterprise for furnish 
ing our soldiers with clothing and the women at home with cotton 
cards, etc., by the " Advance " and other blockade runners, required 
much attention. Then his correspondence with the President and 
Secretary of War, at Richmond, demanded both thought and labor. 
So the burden upon him was very heavy ; and the two Aids in his 
office, Colonels Geo. Little and D. A. Barnes, and Mr. A. M. McPheeters, 
executive clerk, and myself were kept constantly busy while he did 
much writing with his own hand. The more important letters to the 
Confederate authorities were generally in his own handwriting. 

As he never refused an audience to any caller, it seems almost 
marvelous that he found time to do all he did. Doubtless he would 
have broken down but for his very vigorous constitution and the buoy 
ancy of his spirits. He often found amusement and recreation in 
interviews with unsophisticated people, and he would frequently drop 
into our office and amuse us with something funny ^that had been 
said. For example, he told of a singular request for help from a 
countrywoman. " Governor," she said, "I want you to search the 
records and see when I was married. They want to conscript my son 
John, and I say that he is not old enough." " Well," said he, " sup 
pose I find out when you were married, how can I tell when John was 
born ?" " Oh, Sir ! There is no trouble about that ! John was born 
just three months before we was married." 

One of his most devoted friends was old " Aunt Abby House, " 
from Franklin. She was a privileged character, and it was difficult to 
prevent her going into the Governor s office at her own pleasure, what 
ever might be his engagements. Though an ardent Confederate, she 
thought there were often good reasons why her two favorite nephews 
should be excused from the army ; and Governor Vance must write to 
the President, Secretary of War or General Lee, in their behalf. He 
used to repeat with glee a diplomatic letter he wrote General Lee asking 
for a furlough for her nephew, Jack D., who she claimed was not in 
good health. It was to the effect that Jack was patriotic, but he pre 
ferred service at home rather than in the field ; and from the best 
information he could get from Jack s aunt, the bearer, he supposed 
that the odor of a combination of nitrate of potash, sulphur and carbon 
(gun-powder) in combustion was the best tonic for jack s nervous sys 
tem. She bore the letter off triumphantly and made her way to General 
Lee s camp in Virginia. In a fortnight or so she was back in the Gov 
ernor s office, and to his surprise she was more friendly than ever. 
"Well, Aunt Abby," he said, "did you give my letter to General 
Lee? " "Of course I did, and I got Jack a furlough, too. " " What 
did General Lee say when he read the letter? " "He laughed and said 
that Vance was a mighty smart feller. " 



LIFE OF VANCE. 169 

Amid all these engagements Governor Vance somehow found time 
to do some reading, for improvement as well as for recreation. He as 
similated whatever he read to a remarkable degree ; and it was his 
custom to read good and useful books. I remember his frequently re 
ferring to Motley s " Dutch Republic, " which he read during the war, 
as offering lessons of encouragement to us in the dark days of the Con 
federacy and so of other books. The improvement of his style in 
writing, as the result of practice and reading during the first part of 
his career as Governor, was striking to us, through whose hands his 
letters passed. His later messages, proclamations, etc., were models 
of their kind terse and vigorous sentences, breathing devotion to duty 
and patriotic fervor. Some of them were truly eloquent. 

The gaudium certaminis was as strong with him as if he were in 
the forefront of the battles. North Carolina had pledged her faith to 
her sisters of the South, and she must do her full part. To him it was 
owing, chiefly, that she did it so nobly. He saw to it that every man 
liable to military duty under the law was put in place to perform that 
duty ; but when those not liable claimed protection from the enrolling 
office, he was vigilant to see that they had all the benefit of habeas 
corpus, from our State judges, to make good their exemption. Timid 
men in the Confederate Congress from different States and in our State 
Legislature, and others, in the dark days towards the end of the strug 
gle, suggested to him to end the war by calling the North Carolina 
soldiers home from Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. " No, " he said, 
with fiery energy and ringing words. " Our State s honor demands 
that her soldiers shall be among the last to leave the battle fields of the 
South, if defeat must come. " And to the last he bent all his great 
energies to the end that their ranks be kept as full as disease and death 
would permit, and that they be better clothed than the soldiers of 
other States. The store of blue blankets and grey cloth, he had 
provided for them, was not exhausted when Lee surrendered at Ap- 
pomatox and Johnston at Durham. That they and their friends remem 
bered his loving care for them and his devotion to the State was 
manifest by the enthusiasm with which they bore him, in spite of all 
obstacles, into the Governor s office so triumphantly, once more, after 
the lapse of eleven years of forced retirement on his part and patriotic 
waiting on theirs. His inaugural of 1877 and his messages to the Leg 
islatures of 1877 and 1879 showed that he was as true to the State s 
honor and best interests and as resourceful as ever. As friend and 
neighbor I saw how he labored to put North Carolina abreast with the 
more advanced States of the Union in whatever might conduce to her 
prosperity and permanent welfare. 

In the fall of 1884, when the Cleveland and Scales campaign in 
which he bore so conspicuous a part, was in full blast, I being the 
chairman of the State Democratic committee, he and the second Mrs. 
Vance were my guests for a few days ; and I again had an oppor- 



170 LIFE OF VANCE. 

tunity of intimate acquaintance with him. I found him, at the age of 
fifty-four, wiser and broader in his sympathies, and as zealous for the 
public weal as he had been twenty years before, while his humor was 
as genial and his wit as sparkling as of yore, and his gentleness with 
old friends, and his good wife, were such as to win as much admiration 
from younger people who had not before known him, as the great 
speeches he made here and elsewhere were commanding. I and mine 
felt to" him as to a near relation, and the reputation he was making in 
the United States Senate was a source of personal, as well as State, 
pride with us, and the effects of the insidious disease from which he 
first lost an eye, and which gradually sapped his health and strength, 
were watched by us with painful anxiety. 

I will ever regard it as a prized honor that, on his death, my friend 
ship for him was recognized by Governor Carr by his appointing me 
with two State officers, Col. S. McD. Tate and Capt. Oct. Coke, as a 
member of a committee to attend his funeral in the Senate chamber 
at Washington, and accompany his body to the capitol in Raleigh and 
then to its place of burial at Asheville. 

[From Joseph P. Caldwell.] 

The subject of this book was so well known to every North Caro 
linian that almost any one might pass an accurate judgment upon him. 
For thirty-three years he went in and out among the people and his 
name, his face and his figure were familiar, while his mental processes 
and the range of his intellect were fairly measured by all men of average 
discernment. Hence, there will be no dissent from the proposition that 
while the register of Time has recorded the rise and progress of great 
er men, it was not given to North Carolina to produce them. Among 
the sons of our State he was easily first. There have been those who 
mastered him in learning in the law ; who surpassed him in letters ; 
who in special lines of intellectual strength equaled and went beyond 
him, but none has been so many-sided. Comparing him with other 
great North Carolinians, it might be said that he possessed in gener 
ous measure their highest attributes and conspicuously others which 
none of them enjoyed. As a mountain youth he gave promise of 
what he was to be, and the promise was fulfilled. He had only tried 
his wings when the discerning saw that he was destined to soar high. 
It was recognized that a new genius had arisen in the West. But with 
the idea of genius is associated always the thought of something 
irregular meteoric ; something to be admired but something not quite 
certain. There is infinite interest and profit in the study of the career 
of this man as he advanced, step by step, in his upward progress. He 
grew to the height of every occasion which confronted him, however 
new or unstudied. He was equal to every obstacle that arose in his 
pathway, and it is not too much to say of him, as Dick Taylor said of 
Stonewall Jackson, that he was "superior to circumstance." The 



LIFE OF VANCE. 171 

flame which might have been a meteor, came, as the years advanced 
and new opportunities arose, to shine with a steady light, and the 
genius which was awhile ago admired and applauded, yet looked at 
askance, developed, with the progress of years, into a ripened wis 
dom, which was so often and so triumphantly vindicated, that men 
long ago came to appreciate that it could be trusted. 

As a popular orator and debater there has been in North Carolina 
no man who approached him. Never has the State had a sonwho 
could so sway the multitude. His style of address was unique and 
never to be forgotten. I pass by the inimitable humor which lighten 
ed up his speeches. While to the heedless this was the distinguishing 
feature of Vance s oratory, it was indeed the merest incident of his 
public addresses. His arguments were ponderous, distinguished for 
originality of proposition and power of statement. He was a thinker, a 
logician, and while no thought escaped his tongue that had not already 
been subjected to the crucible of reason, no faulty argument could be 
advanced by an opponent and its weakness escape detection by him. His 
alertness was amazing ; his readiness will ever remain a proverb in the 
State. He was never taken unawares ; never found without an answer, 
and it a sufficient one. He was capable of the loftiest eloquence, and 
adorned with handsomest decorations whatever subject he chose to. 
But amidst references to his humor, his quickness, his aptness and elo 
quence, the fact should not be lost sight of that these were but 
adornments of what were masterful intellectual performances ; for he 
was a great intellect who himself set no store by the arts of speech, 
except in so far as they might serve to give emphasis to the grave 
argument he would enforce. 

As an executive officer, in the most trying period in the history of 
the State, he evidenced superb practical ability, and, transferred to 
the wider domain of national politics, he stood for fifteen years in the 
Senate of the United States a peer a statesman, a master of statecraft. 
That he succeeded Mr. Beck, of Kentuck} , upon the death of the latter, 
as the Democratic leader in the Senate upon the tariff issue, that he 
made himself, by study and work, an authority upon this subject, and 
that he maintained this leadership until physical disability overtook 
him, and was able at all times to meet all comers, is familiar history. 
And so he came to be a national figure, and when he died there were 
not half a dozen Senators whose names were better known to the coun 
try than his. Thus had he come, more largely than ever before, to be 
an object of State pride, for in winning fame for himself he shed lustre 
upon North Carolina. 

Senator Vance was by Nature richly endowed, and what Nature 
did not give him he fought for and won. Pie was a student and a 
thinker, and he originated ideas. But above all, he had what has been 
aptly described as "the genius of popularity." He believed in the 
people, and they believed in him as they never have in any other man. 



172 LIFE OF VANCE. 

No other citizen has had such influence over them, and it is not pro 
bable that in this generation any other will. His personality was 
better known to the people of North Carolina than that of any man. 
His appearance commanded attention his fine, strong face ; his lion- 
like head, with its great shock of hair, and his steel-grey eye which, 
as he chose, burned surrounding objects with its indignant flash or 
twinkled with the kindliest humor. His presence was so genial that 
men,, women and children were attracted to him. He was full of the 
milk of human kindness he loved his fellowmen and, a happy spirit 
himself, he loved to lighten the cares which weighed upon others. 
He was essentially a man of the people ; he liked their plain ways and 
they rewarded him for this and for his fidelity to them by showering 
upon him such a wealth of affection as no other North Carolinian has 
ever enjoyed. 

As an inevitable consequence of the life he had adopted, striving 
ever to deserve the approbation of the people, and contending ever 
with wily swordsmen, with keen blades, for the mastery, his career 
was a tempestuous one, but it was not barren ; and, laying aside his 
armor, he could have truly said, "I have done the State some service." 
Yea, verily more than any man who lives or has lived. 

[From Walter Clark.] 

As the generation which passed through the fiery ordeal of 1861-5 
is receding into the past it stands out in all its heroic proportions like 
a mirage above the desert of cotemporaneous history. The great part 
North Carolina played in that historic scene is beginning to be dis 
cerned in all the grandeur of her self-sacrifice. Among the men of 
that day, the massive form and lion port of Zebulon B. Vance, the 
great war Governor, not of North Carolina alone, but of the South, 
"in ges ture and bearing, stands proudly pre-eminent " as its outlines 
are cast upon the canvass of history. 

Early in the struggle, North Carolina called him home from the 
head of his regiment to take her helm of State. From that day the 
welfare of her people and her soldiery was his never ceasing care. 
Throughout the army, no other troops were as well clothed, as well 
shod, or better armed, than those who proudly bore on their bayonet 
points the honor and the fame of North Carolina. 

More than a third of a century has passed since we called him 
home to the head of the State, but from that hour by every soldier s 
bivouac, by every surviving soldier s hearthstone, by the fireside of 
every soldier s son and daughter, if there is one name more than an 
other w r hich can stir the heart as with the sound of a trumpet, it is, 
and has ever been, that of the great war Governor, Zebulon B. Vance. 

During those eventful years, the memory of which can never be 
forgotten, he organized a basis of supplies beyond the ocean and sent 
the steamer "Advance" back and forth like a weaver s shuttle, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 173 

through beleaguering and hostile fleets, bringing needed supplies alike 
for army and people. Had the President of the Confederacy pos 
sessed equal foresight and enterprise the catastrophe might possibly 
have been avoided. The ability and patriotism then displayed by their 
chosen chief impressed his memory indelibly upon the affections of 
the people of North Carolina. To his latest hour they never forgot 
him or took away his lineaments from their heart of hearts. 

After the war, for our sins, imprisonment and disfranchisement 
were visited upon him. In the dark days of 1868 no temptations and 
no terrors could shake him. When other leaders, since highly honored 
were waiting, like Lord Stanly at Atherstone, to discern the winning 
side that they might hasten to join it, none ever doubted for which 
side he held. Victor or not, as it might be, his side was with his 
people. 

In all the trials through which we passed for thirty years succeed 
ing the war there was never a contest nor a struggle in which we did 
not feel stronger and braver because we knew that he was with us. 

Among all our illustrious dead, there has not been one who has 
more completely commanded the confidence and the affections of the 
people than Governor Vance. It was because they instinctively under 
stood him. It was because of the people, the great plain common people 
(as Lincoln loved to call them) knew that he was of them and for 
them. They knew, and they felt, that whatever blandishments and 
and whatever seductions power and wealth might offer, Vance would 
not desert them. 

He had his faults, for he was mortal ; he made mistakes for he was 
only a man. But one mistake he never made, one fault he was never 
charged with: Not once in his long and splendid public career was it 
ever whispered that Governor Vance, or Senator Vance, had paltered 
with his duty for place or power. As for money, there was not enough 
to buy him. To his latest breath, as from his earliest entrance into 
public life, he was true to his trust. Twice a member of Congress, 
thrice chosen Governor, and four times elected to the United States 
Senate ; upon no other son has North Carolina lavished so many honors. 
The pride and affection of the people for him were only equalled by 
his fidelity to their cause. 

As a brave soldier, the people honored him ; as an incorruptable 
public servant, they admired and esteemed him ; as the tireless, fearless 
champion of the people s rights they loved him. 

The last great tribune of the people is dead. A century may well 
keep watch and ward till we see his like again. 

[From William R. Cox.] 

It is no disparagement to others to assert that Governor Vance 
was foremost in the affections and confidence of the people of our 
State. He had rare opportunities to serve them and nobly improved 



OF VANCE. 

them. Warmly attached to the union of the States, he had no sym 
pathy with the rocking of the waves that presaged the storm soon to 
ensue. It is said, with uplifted hands, he was advocating the cause of 
the Union when the proclamation of Mr. Lincoln was received calling 
for troops to coerce the States. Immediately his hands fell, his head 
bowed, he descended from the rostrum, and called for volunteers to 
defend the State from an outrage upon her constitutional rights. At 
the head of a company, raised, he promptly tendered his services to 
the Governor, and from thence forward was a soldier, until the voice of 
the people called him to the executive chair. I will not dwell upon 
his business methods, which equipped our soldiers better than those 
of any of her sister States, and provided a livehood for many house 
holds throughout our borders. Suffice it his wisdom, his foresight, 
and zeal distinguished him as the war Governor of the South. So 
much so that at the close of the war, the sectional party then in con 
trol of the national government, resolved that he should vicariously 
suffer for the trangressions of his people. I called on him when on 
his way to the old capitol prison. Notwithstanding the opportunities to 
enrich himself, which one less scrupulous would have availed himself 
of, he was without a dollar, save amounts contributed by a few friends 
from their scanty stores. 

While in prison he was visited by friends in the North who knew 
him when a member of Congress ; by his good humor, his apt way of 
presenting, in a ludicrous way, the mistakes of others, he brought 
his imprisonment into riducule and was early set at liberty. 

Though prevented from holding office, during the dark days of 
reconstruction, his voice and pen were employed for the welfare of 
the State. In 1875 a constitutional convention was called to supercede 
the odious carpet-bag government. Many of our prominent men 
regarded the movement as premature, and in writing committed 
themselves against the policy. Therefore, when I, as chairman of 
the Democratic executive committee, urged them to take the stump 
and aid in our efforts, their responses were apologies. Not so with 
Governor Vance, who replied I might rely on him to do what he 
could, and made an appointment for us to meet at Morganton to inau 
gurate a canvass of the western part of the State, for here there was 
much division among our friends, and independent candidates were in 
nearly every county. When in Morganton, I received a dispatch re 
questing me to join him at his home in Charlotte. He then informed 
me that he had sent his family off that morning. His friends had 
promised to raise money to enable him to make the canvass. They 
had failed to do so, until he declared he would put his individual 
note in bank, to raise the money to fill our appointments. So that 
evening we took the cars for Georgia to reach western North Carolina, 
for, notwithstanding our carpet-bag legislators had appropriated 
twenty millions of bonds to build railroads, not one mile was under 



LIFE OF VANCE. 175 

construction. The result of that canvass is still remembered by many 
but it is not known that at the close of our canvass Vance did not have 
five dollars to reach his home. Result: A brilliant canvass, Robeson 
held, the State redeemed, and our people again allowed to elect honest 
men for public office, and our credit, which was destroyed, soon restored 
to normal standard. For many of the blessings now enjoyed are we 
indebted to this great man. 

In 1876 he was nominated for Governor. His opponent was a man 
of splendid address, great ability, and had the general government at 
his back. The campaign was the most memorable ever made in our 
State. The labors of Governor Vance during that canvass are to this 
day imperfectly appreciated. At this time it became my duty to 
meet him on several occasions, and to my inquiries as to whether he 
needed money his uniform reply was, " my campaign is costing me 
nothing, but when I meet a boy named Zeb I like to give him five dol 
lars." In many a hamlet young Zebs were found, and no less than 
five were once presented on one occasion. So general a favorite was 
he that even horses, dogs, etc., were named for him. His labors were 
literally overwhelming. From the time he reached the places ap 
pointed for speaking there was a continual stream of men, women 
and children seeking to approach and shake him by the hand. His 
body was sacrificed with heat, but never for a moment did he shirk 
his duty. The third time he was chosen Governor, an honor never con 
ferred upon any other citizen of the State. 

Not to dwell upon facts familiar to all, it is sufficient to say that 
before the expiration of his term he was elected to the United States 
Senate, and promptly came forward as one of the leaders of that dis 
tinguished body. Though serving in the lower House for six years, 
while Vance was Senator, I never fully realized in what esteem he was 
held by his colleagues on both sides of the Senate chamber, until called 
to fill my present position. One of the most distinguished members 
of this body informed me that entering the Senate a new member 
while the McKinley tariff bill was under discussion, he witnessed the 
ease and ability with which Senator Vance met every attack on his 
positions and with solid facts and ridicule discomfitted his adversaries. 
He conceived the highest admiration for the man and became warmly 
attached to him. This instance is not singular. 

During his long and protracted illness the liveliest interest for his 
recovery was manifested on both sides of the chamber and when the 
Wilson bill came up for consideration the senior Senator from Indiana 
gave expression to the general feeling of its friends when he, in the 
Senate, regretted the absence of the junior Senator from North 
Carolina. 

Contrary to the general opinion, Senator Vance was a close stu 
dent, a fine belles lettres scholar, and possessed elements of the 
highest oratory. During the debate on the McKinley bill he sacrificed 



176 UFE OF VANCE. 

his health and his eye in nightly labor over its complicated tariff 
schedule. And during the special session of 1893, though his health 
was very feeble, he lost no interest in his public duties nor spared 
himself in preparation for them, and while partially paralyzed deliv 
ered a well-prepared and able speech on the repeal of the Sherman act. 
Having occasion to go into the cloak-room soon after its delivery, I 
found him lying down surrounded by friends, wet with perspiration 
and nearly exhausted. I then feared for him what ultimately proved 
too true, that it would be his last active appearance on the floor of the 
Senate. 

After the death of that able and learned lawyer and fearless Dem 
ocrat, ex-Attorney General Black, there was a meeting in the Supreme 
Court room, attended by many distinguished publicists, to pay honor 
to his memory. It was generally conceded that among the able ad 
dresses then delivered, there was not one equal to that of Senator 
Vance. I had occasion to know the labor he bestowed on its prepara 
tion. 

Not to extend this letter to a wearying length, I wish to call 
attention to the fact that when Vance was nominated the third time 
for Governor, in addressing the vast concourse then in Raleigh, he, 
in calling attention to the manner in which our State and the country 
had been robbed and plundered by carpet-baggers and their confeder 
ates, dramatically threw up his hands and truthfully exclaimed, 
" Fellow citizens, my hands are clean !" After accomplishing so much 
for us he died as he lived poor and with clean hands, with a con 
science clear, manhood untarnished, and a fame and a name dear to 
every household from his home amidst the Black mountains to the 
low lands of the East washed by the billowy Atlantic. 

In the presence of this illustrious public servant, this devoted 
North Carolinian, this great tribune of the people, who consecrated 
his manhood, his decrepitude, and perhaps gave his life for his State, 
and who, after all his sacrifices, died poor and with clean hands, let 
us teach our children to revere his memory, to follow his example, 
and whether dealing with private or public affairs, to keep their hands 
clean always. 

And the wayward, but sincere, seeker after political truth may 
safely give heed to his dying admonition, that " the word Democrat 
stands for human liberty and human freedom, and cannot die. 
Democracy is immortal." 

[From Wharton J. Green.] 

If competent judges were called upon to name the purest, most 
lustrous, grandest character in the " Henriade " epoch of English his 
tory, beginning with the first Henry and ending with the last of the 
name, we much opine that the almost unanimous vote would designate 
England s great if not greatest Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More as 
the man. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 177 

Plain, simple, gentle, genial, with a heart as full of love as a head 
of erudition and transcendent grasp, whom kingly favor could not turn 
or terror bend. It is perhaps not extravagant to say that he is entitled 
to rank in the world s choicest score of "Superlatives, " and to justify 
the estimate of Erasmus, "as more pure and white than the w r hitest 
snow, with such wit as England never had before, and is never likely to 
have again. " In extempore speaking he stood unequaled. In theo 
logical disputation, though but a layman, he was the peer or more of 
the ablest churchmen. 

This superb and redundant man preferred the block to the sur 
render of one jot or tittle of his convictions, though many there were 
and more there be who deemed and deem his election mere pride and 
punctilio. Be it so or be it not, Paul was his prototype and he, we 
hold, was the grandest man who has " ever lived in the tide of times. " 
But here discrepancy between the two sets in. Paul had no humorous 
side to his character. Sir Thomas, on the contrary, was brimful of his 
little jests and pleasantries, even to the scaffold s foot and falling of 
the axe. This was due in main to his sunshiny nature, kindliness of 
heart and exuberance of fancy. His life study was to live uprightly, 
to do his duty to his God, his King and his country, and make others 
happy and contented with their lot. Let cavillers say that his outcrop 
of innocent humor in furtherance of the last, detracted from the Mas 
ter s service. On the contrary to my poor ken, coupled with his more 
serious traits, it only added to his Christian life and hands him to us as 
perhaps the sweetest and most lovable character of such prominence 
in our history. Perhaps it is not extravagant to say that in him, Mar 
cus Aurelius and Robert E. Lee, the world has the grandest and most 
perfect all around triumvirate of the Christian era, leaving out him of 
Tarsus. 

I am thus diffuse in delineation and praise of this almost match 
less man, owing to the many striking points of similitude between him 
and Zebulon B. Vance, with whom it is proposed to run a cursory 
parallel. The question of comparative mental calibre of the two will 
be left in abeyance as one too subtle to sift. Suffice it that one might 
fall far short of the intellectual altitude of Sir Thomas More and yet 
be amply competent to sway Senates or wield the helm of State. In 
amiable attractive attributes, few men have ever borne closer re 
semblance. Seriosity and humor most admirably blended ; wit as keen 
as a Damascus blade, but which never gave offence except when the 
occasion and the subject most urgently demanded. The fundamental 
article of creed of each was obedience to the Master and love of fellow- 
man. Politicians and movers of the popular heart they were by nature 
and statesmen by culture. Innate and irrepressible politeness and gift of 
speech and sweet disposition forced them into popular idols and lead 
ers of men, yclept the politician, not vice versa. Insatiate love of 
study and of statecraft with love of mankind underlying necessitated 

13 



178 LIFE OF VANCE. 

the outcome of the last. These men were of the " nascitur " sort un 
doubtedly, but only unremitting thought and application could have 
prepared them for the high employments they were called upon to 
discharge. In equipoise and equable temperament they were essen 
tially of the same mould. Neither was ever unduly elated by the 
honors of office or depressed by the cares of State. Of the more re 
cent, it is mine to say that during a long and friendly intercourse with 
him, extending through a generation, I never saw him cast down, or 
" down in the mouth, " but on one occasion, and then only for a few 
brief minutes. Wiping away the unbidden tear from his manly cheek, 
he remarked with a placid smile, " Come, old fellow, let s have a quiet 
Sunday morning s talk. How do you like this thing?" refering to 
congressional life. " But little. " "As little do I, " was his reply. 
" And yet our little places will never go a-begging. " Such methinks 
might have been the latent thought of his illustrious prototype as 
here outlined before he laid aside " the great seal " to lay his great 
head upon the block. " Vanitas vanitatum ! " Be that as it may, the 
two fulfilled the high posts of duty to which they were called to the 
uttermost of superlative capacity, and went to rest with that proud 
consciousness. To continue the analogy, they lived poor and died 
poor in this world s gear, but millionaires in the affections of their 
countrymen, of unsmirched and unsullied name. May God in His in 
finite mercy grant us more of that sort and fewer of the other. In 
home life, likewise they were twin brothers. Home to each was the 
most loved spot on earth, and they strove to make it so to all who had 
ingress into its sacred portals. They died near the same ages for great 
work done comparatively young. 

Congeniality in wit and innocent mirth was, perhaps, however, 
the most striking trait in common to these remarkable men. One has, 
as already said, his little quips and quirks almost to the moment of 
decapitation. The other indulges in the same as the bolts of the old 
Capitol prison close behind him, to be opened again when no man 
could tell. 

Each hated tyranny with a holy hate, that is, as they did the 
place in which it emanates, and to which, in the end, all tyrants pre 
sumptively go, be they crown wearers or for the want of such head 
gear only vulgar, domestic brutes. 

Bold assertion against unwarranted assumptions of executive 
heads was the most heroic bond of sympathy between them, or would 
have been had they lived in the same age. 

The first dared to beard two kings on the threshold of kingly en 
croachment as he believed, gaining admission thereby on each 
occasion into Tyranny s " Tower." The other to lock horns with his 
party chief in executive robe, as inflated a specimen of uncrowned 
regality as ever strutted this mundane stage, "and whose chief est 
regret might seem to have been that he, like those and other titular 



LIFE OF VANCE. 179 

spirits of kindred sort, had not a little " Tower " of his own in which 
to cage such truculent birds. 

But dropping comparison, his proud title of " the war Governor " 
of the Confederacy, gave our immediate man his most resplendent 
sheen. Although but still a boy, as it were, when called from the 
head of his regiment to take the head of his State, he quickly proved 
himself amply competent to the transition and the high promotion 
accorded. By his brief experience in camp and field, he had learned 
the needs of troops, pressing even then, but more pressing soon to 
follow. His ambition seemed to be from the start that North Carolina 
should not only have the fullest rosters at " roll call," but the fattest 
graveyards on hard fought fields if needs be, of any of her sister States. 
With liberal allowance to each and all of the others, numerically con 
sidered, let the official war records answer. 

But more than that, it was his fixed purpose and resolve that they 
should be the best clad, the best shod, the best blanketed troops of 
any other. It was a jest in camp that when a regiment of another 
State had given way under dread ordeal and was replaced by one of 
ours, in reply to taunt of the Colonel of the First, a weather beaten 
and bare-footed old veteran blurted out between his sobs : "If we 
were only as well shoed and as well cared for as them d d Tar Heels, 
we d know how to stick and die as well as they do." 

The swift little steamer "Advance" was placed in commission 
with glorious Tom Crosson in command, and made her outgoings and 
incomings through the blockading squadrons almost with the regular 
ity of a Cunarder in and out of New York. Cotton, tobacco, naval stores, 
etc., which commanded almost fabulous prices on the other side con 
stituted her outgoing cargo. The articles named, and medical stores 
and appliances, and improved arms and outfit, her incoming for the 
soldiers, not omitting needles and buttons and thread and knitting 
needles, and cotton cards and old-fashioned spinning wheels and cot 
ton and woolen cloths and such like, her incoming. Rather a primi 
tive selection and assortment, the so-called "400" upstarts and their 
congerers might say ; but let them remember that these homely articles 
were designed for men and women contending for a soul ingrained 
principle, which they would not have parted with for all the paltry 
dross of their paltry herd, including gold ; yea, much fine gold, and 
purples and broad cloths, and precious stones, and knee breeches, and 
buckles, and farthingales and furbelows, and manikins and their sort 
thrown in for full complement. 

Some there were w r ho claimed that he was stretching constitutional 
prerogative a little too far, in reply to whom we can almost fancy we 
hear the stereotyped big oath of North Carolina s biggest son : " By 
the Eternal ! these glorious fellows shall not come to want through 
any neglect or omission of mine." 

Of course our juvenile Governor had the general outline of freight- 



l8o LIFE OF VANCE. 

age on these momentous trips of the little craft, but this was elaborated 
by his well selected and efficient coadjutor and agent on the other 
side, Honest John Scotch White, of Warrenton. 

What a splendid opportunity for nest-feathering was lost by these 
three thoughtless men, Vance, Crosson and White, when almost every 
pound of cargo was worth its equivalent in silver, and sometimes even 
in gold, and yet fools there be who would rather be of that sort than 
of the maccaroon or millionairic class. 

The wonderful versatility of this wonderful man is best illustrated 
by the fact that notwithstanding his undivided adhesion to the cause 
of Southern Independence after the struggle was once begun, he was 
not an original secessionist or one per se at the start. Again, his 
reputation as the prince of story tellers had preceded him to the 
Senate, and his colleagues were prepared to see a country clown or 
"Merry Andrew." His first utterance undeceived them. He had 
left the stump, the petty politician, and the cross roads behind him, 
and was at a single bound a full fledged United States Senator. 

[From Edward J. Hale.] 

The first time I remember to have been impressed with the magni 
tude of the place Vance was destined to occupy in our history was in 
October, 1860, when almost the earliest duty assigned to me, as a 
newly-fledged editor and member of the firm of E. J. Hale & Sons, 
was the " editing" of the report sent to the Observer from Salisbury 
of the great Whig mass-meeting there on the nth and I2th of that 
month. There were traditions in abundance at the University, when I 
was there, of Vance s witty sayings, but these had not impressed me 
with the idea that the author of the latter was fashioned to excel in 
other respects. What impressed me in the Salisbury report was the 
fact that the young Congressman should be represented as shining 
among the stars that were there of such magnitude as Badger, Graham, 
Morehead, W. N. H. Smith and Alfred Dockery. Of the first day s 
(Thursday s) meeting the report said : 

"General Dockery made a short exhortatory oration and intro 
duced Hon. Z. B. Vance. This gentleman rose amid shouts of applause 
and for over two hours held his large audience perfectly, and that too, 
most of the time, amid the rain. At every attempt to stop he would be 
greeted with shouts of " go on, " "go on. " His speech partook of the 
argumentative and the witty in elegant proportions. Your corres 
pondent thinks he is the best stump orator in North Carolina, and may 
venture to say that at least nine-tenths of the thousands at Salisbury 
think so, too." 

On Friday night the young orator was again pressed into service, 
and the report went on to say : 

" At night those who remained in town assembled in the public 
square to see the fireworks. From the commencement of the display 



LIFE OF VANCE. l8l 

cries were continually made for " Vance, " and "Let s hear the Moun 
tain Boy. " After considerable exhibition of the fireworks and an 
hour s calling for him, Mr. Vance came forward and was mounted on a 
pile of boxes. After a number of witticisms, Mr. Vance got the crowd a 
little silent and held them steadily around him for over an hour. You 
can form some idea of the crowd when I tell you that one of those wide 
streets of Salisbury was packed for three hundred feet of length side 
walks and all almost as close as it is possible for human beings to 
stand. In the midst of this vast assembly was Mr. Vance. Cheer after 
cheer followed nearly every sentence he uttered. And as he left his 
platform the enthusiastic crowd threw wreaths over his head and re 
ceiving him on their shoulders, bore him around the vast assembly 
amid deafening shouts. " 

I was present when Mr. Badger said to the late Mr. E. J. Hale, in 
reply to the latter s congratulations upon the accounts he had heard of 
Mr. Badger s own great speech at the Salisbury meeting: "But, Mr. Hale, 
you should have heard Vance, the young Congressman from the moun 
tain district. There never lived such a stump speaker as he. " At 
that time Mr. Badger was recognized as our ablest Carolinian states 
man, and probably our most accomplished orator. Measured by the 
modern English standard of oratory, he was certainly entitled to that 
rating in North Carolina, and probably, at that time, in the Union. 

In its issue of October iyth, 1861, the Fayetteville Observer pub 
lished a letter from Col. Z. B. Vance, of the Twenty-sixth Regiment, 
addressed to his friend, Mr. N. G. Allman, of Franklin, Macon county, 
declining to allow his name to be used as that of a candidate for Con 
gress. (This letter is given in full elsewhere in this volume.) 

In this letter was revealed the predominant traits of the man, as 
they became afterwards known to the people of all the State. Though 
a Union man up to Lincoln s proclamation, he had cast his lot with his 
own people; though a Congressman and entitled to some preference, he 
entered the war on an equality with his neighbors, as a private soldier; 
though tempted by urgent solicitations to return to the pursuit of poli 
tics, for which his genius fitted him, he obeyed what then seemed to be 
the call of duty ; above all, he was of a modest disposition and filled his 
letter which discloses so beautifully, with the spirit of gratitude 
"gratitude," which was, as one who loved him said, his "favorite virtue; 
gratitude to God and man for the blessings of affection." 

But as the time approached in the next year (1862) for the election 
of a Governor, it was felt that North Carolina s position in the Con 
federacy would be best sustained by the recognition of that majority 
element in the State whose ante-bellum Union sentiments had pre 
vailed in the choice of delegates to the convention of 1861. In its 
announcement of the death of Senator Vance, the Raleigh News and 
Observer of April iyth, 1894, said : 

" The time was now approaching for the election of a Governor 



1 82 LIFE OF VANCE. 

of the State. Governor Ellis had died in office and Hon. Henry T. 
Clark, Speaker of the Senate, was acting as Governor. Hon. A. S. 
Merrimon, of Buncombe, was a member of the Assembly ; and at a 
conference of a few friends, it was determined to bring out Vance for 
Governor. Merrimon rode to Fayetteville and obtained a promise of 
cordial support from Mr. Edward Jones Hale, the leading Whig editor 
of the State, and Vance was brought out. Many Democrats did not 
wish to antagonize him." 

I happened to be at home on furlough at the time, and was 
assigned the pleasant duty of taking Mr. Merrimon over the town, 
after the serious business was concluded. I recalled that it was 
agreed that if Vance would accept the great task proposed for him, 
he should address a letter to the editors of the Observer, which should 
constitute a sort of platform for his adherents, as well as indication of 
his own attitude toward his candidacy. He was induced to abandon 
his purpose, so rigidly adhered to up to that time, of remaining in the 
field, and wrote a letter accepting the unique, but very Democratic, 
nomination. (Published elsewhere in this volume.) 

The traits which I have mentioned a sense of duty, modesty and 
a grateful disposition are such as commend their possessors to men 
everywhere. But while those virtues were Vance s in a very high 
degree, they would not, of themselves, be sufficient to explain his lead 
ing characteristic, " his popularity " and his power with the masses. 

A noted Georgia writer declared that Vance was not only the most 
popular man in North Carolina, but the most popular man who had 
ever lived in any State. That is probably literally true. Senator 
Chandler said the same thing in effect, on the funeral train from Ral 
eigh to Asheville, as he watched the silent people who lined the road 
side, and scanned their faces and noted the expression of individual 
sorrow which each face bore. 

The late Senator s engaging manners, his noble face and figure, so 
good to look upon, and his unrivalled powers upon the stump would 
account for the unusual favor with which those who saw and heard 
him regarded him ; but, in the nature of things, these must have con 
stituted but a small portion of the mass of his countrymen. Yet his 
popularity was all-pervading. An authority has declared that the 
ablest commissary general who ever lived would be unequal to the 
task of feeding London for a day ; yet the forces of individual self- 
interest, directed by no concert of action but concentrated in their 
final effect, deliver to the great city each day just what it needs of 
meat and drink. Such concentration of the unconcerted efforts of a 
multitude, where the motive of the individuals is the same, is a force 
well known to students of those matters. So it was, we may infer, 
with our hero and his friends. As his beneficent rule in those troublous 
days of the great war was felt in the remotest corners of the State, and 
his vigilant care sought out the humblest private in the ranks at the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 183 

front, his beneficiaries traced each his bounty back to its source with 
unerring discernment. So they came to know each other in a way 
that neither forgot. Or, as it has been said, the people loved him be 
cause he first loved them. 

The most picturesque episode of Vance s life was his series of 
speeches to the North Carolina troops of Lee s army in March, 1864. 
There were during the winter of 1863-4 thirteen North Carolina brig 
ades (sixty-five regiments) in the Army of Northern Virginia. They 
were stretched at intervals and not very great intervals, for they 
composed more than half of that immortal army along the Southern 
bank of the Rapidan, east and west from Orange Court House. My 
brigade (Lane s) held the extreme left, at Liberty Mills. The day 
before the Governor was to speak at our camp (March 3ist) the gen 
eral and I rode over to Scales (the next North Carolina brigade to us 
on the right) to bring him over to our headquarters in readiness for 
the next day. We arrived in time to hear his speech. It was pitched 
in a loffy key. General Lee, General Stuart and other big wigs of 
the army, arrived just at the close, owing to a misunderstanding of the 
time set for the speech, but we learned from them that they had been 
following Vance up from brigade to brigade. His tour began with the 
North Carolina Brigade furthermost to the right (Ramseur s, I think) 
and there General Lee and his companions had gone to meet him and 
to welcome him to the army. But they had run the gamut of the 
whole eleven up to Scales so fascinating had they found his eloquence. 

It was a picturesque and inspiring scene. There lay the uncon- 
quered army of Northern Virginia, like a lion at bay, along the 
foothills of the Blue Ridge. Or, we might say that the Great Com 
mander was holding his dogs of war in leash for what soon proved 
their long drawn death grapple, when they were let loose on the flank 
of Grant s marching army five weeks later. Traitors at home were 
sowing discord among th*e people, with the expectation that the infec 
tion would spread to their brethren in the army. At this crisis, 
the young Governor of the State which supplied such a great 
portion of that army, appeared upon the scene. What a setting 
the picture had ! The Great Commander and his brilliant escort, 
many hundreds of the fair women of Virginia on horseback and in 
carriages, and the grim veterans and their tattered flags ! And what a 
theme. He was fresh from the triumph of the great Wilkesboro 
speech with which he opened his anti-Holden campaign at home ; and 
this was a last appeal to the men at the front to stand to their colors, 
even though that required their turning a deaf ear to the wails of 
those dependent upon them. His fiery eloquence bewitched the 
great Virginian and his companions, while it wrought our Carolinian 
soldiers up to the highest pitch of patriotic fervor. No wonder they 
made their imperishable record in the unprecedented campaigns that 
followed. 



1 84 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Twenty-one years later I sat upon the platform with Mr. Gladstone 
in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, when the grand old man opened 
his Home Rule campaign with the memorable "Manchester Speech." 
The surroundings certainly were very different, but the cause was the 
same ; and, having in consideration the fact that each speaker s object 
was to sway great bodies of men in behalf of a people s freedom, I 
believe that Vance s was the greater effort. 

Those who heard him then and survived the war brought the 
impression home with them. 

These bonds were not of the kind to lightly fall apart ; they as 
serted themselves when he appeared before the people at another 
crisis, in 1876 ; and, contrary to the expectation of those who at a more 
recent period calculated upon the change which a new generation 
might introduce, they were found to be practically unimpaired. The 
same kind of sentimentalists who filled the ranks of North Carolina s 
regiments and the graves of her dead in the war rallied at the sound 
of his voice, this time, also. The very thing in his letter of Jflly i8th, 
1893, to the Mecklenburg Alliance, which so inflamed his enemies, was 
the token by which the multitude recognized their leader and defender. 
No doubt the wave of disapproval which swept along the highways of 
the State at his words of advice and warning, and found unkindly 
voice in some thoughtless quarters, brought sorrow to his heart, but 
he never for a moment doubted what the verdict of the silent masses 
would be, or felt uncertain of the wisdom of his proposition. 

Time has, unfortunately for us all, approved his foresight. If 
genius be the power of mastering infinite details, Vance possessed it 
in an eminent degree. Its flashes before the public were but sparks 
from the forges in his laboratory. He was a hard student, not only of 
the stored wisdom of the ages, but of the daily run of affairs. What 
seemed oftentimes, therefore, to be a supernatural faculty of foreseeing 
events veiled from ordinary men as, for example, the vivid literalness 
of the prophecy in his last great silver speech was but the result of 
his unbounded knowledge. 

One cannot deduce a conclusion from facts unless he know them. 
No one expects to gather figs from thistles, but it is not every one who 
recognizes the thistle. Vance never believed that Mr. Cleveland was a 
Democrat. He thought that way at Chicago in 1884; and he predicted 
in March, 1893, before the extra session was called and its object 
dreamed of, that the President would do something "to set us all by 
the ears" not because he doubted the good faith of the head of his 
party, but because he knew that the President s training and beliefs 
were not Democratic. His prediction then was as precisely fulfilled as 
the more famous one embodied in his speech six months later. 

The keynote to Vance s position in that great speech, on the pro 
position to repeal the Sherman law unconditionally, was given by him 
to a reporter who called upon him at the Fifth Avenue hotel in New 



LIFE OF VANCE. 185 

York on the morning after his Washington s birthday speech before the 
Southern Society, in February, 1893. The reporter said that he had 
been instructed to ask him if he was in favor of carrying out the 
mandates of the Chicago platform, referring especially to those con 
cerning the currency. "Yes," said Vance, with emphasis, "every one 
of them !" He meant that the provisions of that famous document 
were the result of a compromise in which one proposition was balanced 
against another. He had in mind the fact that the alternative of inter 
national agreement on a ratio, was a concession by the South and West 
to New York and the East ; that the reference was to the Brussels 
Conference, impending at the time the platform was adopted ; and that 
failure there should be followed by action under the legislative alter 
native. He also regarded the recommendation for the repeal of the 10 
per cent, tax on State bank issues as part of the compromise. But, as 
the tax had been demonstrated, in the Democratic minority report on 
this subject the year before, to be unconstitutional, and as the recom 
mendation in the platform was the result of that report, he believed 
that if the tax were to be repealed as a compliance with the platform, 
no condition could be attached to its repeal. The President, at a later 
period, overlooked this important point, so clear to Vance s high in 
telligence. It is worth recalling that Vance was the author of the 
report referred to. 

As one looks back now that we realize how completely the prom 
ise to substitute a proper silver coinage law for the Sherman law, if 
that should be repealed in consideration of the promise, was broken 
it seems incredible that anyone could have failed to see the folly of 
trusting to the "generosity of capital" to fulfil what only its greed 
caused it to pledge itself to. Vance, it will be recalled, was the object 
of much scornful criticism at the time for his want of trustfulness. 

One of the curious misapprehensions of Vance s course, which 
certain interests fomented, was the idea that he had compromised 
himself in his so-called pledge at the time of his re-election 
to the Senate in 1891. On the contrary, nothing could have 
been more loyal to the doctrine of the party whose flag he bore than 
the declaration that he recognized the right of instruction by the Leg 
islature, and nothing more candid and manly than his assertion of the 
privilege he reserved of resigning his office if such his instructions 
should require him to violate his party s principles. 

Probably the most extraordinary of Vance s triumphs was his se 
curing a reversal, by his minority report, of the decision regarding the 
admission to the Senate of Mr. Lee Mantle, who had been appointed 
by the Governor after the Legislature of his State had failed to avail 
itself of its right to elect. Yet that report was dictated off-hand to his 
stenographer, after bed time, after days and days of weary attentions 
to office seekers and others, and when the shadow of death was upon 
him. 



1 86 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Some critics have expressed the opinion that one or two other 
speeches in the great debate over the repeal of the Sherman law sur 
passed Vance s. But Vance s will be held to be the greatest, I think, 
if it be looked at in the light of what military men call " grand strat 
egy. It was not intended for a treatise on the silver problem, so much 
as demonstration of the political and strategic folly of the measure 
under consideration. From this, the proper and higher point of view, 
it was without a rival in that unrivaled debate. 

Vance was one of the few Southern men who have received the dis 
tinction of being made honorary members of the Cobden Club. He 
was held in the highest esteem by the great men who compose its 
membership, and his death was appropriately noted by them. 

A distinguished Senator, a high authority in such matters, said at 
Asheville that in a running debate on the floor of the Senate, in which 
a large equipment as well as readiness were required, Vance had no 
equal in his day a decade past. 

In enumerating Vance s leading traits, I have placed his sense of 
duty first. I think that overshadowed all his other virtues. Under 
this general head fall his loyalty to a trust, which was absolute that, 
for example, which the party that gave him office imposed upon him 
and his incorruptibility. When he voted for the investigation of the 
sugar and other scandals, and against the confirmation of Van Alen s 
appointment, he took his stand on the side of purity in national 
affairs. And when he voted against the confirmation of Hornblower s 
and Peckham s appointments he paid tribute to his party loyalty. In 
harmony with this were his views on the subject of " bolting," which 
he gave in such a ringing way in his address issued at the crisis of the 
campaign of 1892. He scorned a bolter, but he had an even greater 
contempt for the man who ought to bolt but who retained the benefit 
of his party s name while giving aid and comfort to the enemy. At 
the same time he was charitable and tolerant to the last degree 
towards those who openly changed their beliefs when free to do so. 
The people keep very close watch upon those in high position. Per 
haps his undeviating loyalty to his constituents, in a corrupt era, 
constituted his strongest hold upon them. 

With the death of Vance, the State lost the only man produced by 
her who has enjoyed since the war what may properly be designated as 
a national reputation. 

Everything considered, it must be said, I think, deliberately, that 
Vance stands almost head and shoulders above any other man produced 
by us "one of the grandest public men," as Mr. Bryan has said in his 
book, "given to this nation, not alone by North Carolina, but by the 
entire country." 

[From Wade Hampton.] 
I have your letter of the igth ultimo, wherein you say that you 



LIFE OF VANCE. 187 

are preparing a life of Senator Vance, and would like to have me con 
tribute to the same. 

I have been confined to my home in South Carolina by an illness 
for the past three months, and have only recently resumed my official 
duties here. It gives me pleasure, however, to recall the little inci 
dent to which you refer in your letter. Years ago, while Governor of 
North Carolina and traveling in the far West, Senator Vance met a 
Westerner of convivial habits, and after they had conversed upon vari 
ous topics for some time, the fellow said to Vance : "As the Governor 
of North Carolina said to the Governor of South Carolina, it is now 
time to take a drink," not knowing that he was addressing the very 
Governor to whom the expression had been attributed. They shook 
hands and took a drink. 

I should be delighted to contribute an article relating to the inci 
dents of my long associations with my old friend in the Senate. But, 
as stated above, my health has suffered much from the effects of an 
old wound, and I feel unequal to the undertaking. Senator Vance, 
however, was a very able man in the Senate, and in all the eminent 
positions to which he was raised by the people of his State, his public 
actions were marked by purity of intentions and as eminating from a 
man of unusual strength. 

[From Hamilton C. Jones.] 

It is difficult to write of a man like Governor Vance so soon after 
his death, at least for those who were much with him or about him. 
Incidents, of course, are numerous, still fresh in the minds of men, 
that tend to show the manner of man he was, but they are so numer 
ous that they puzzle and distract by their very number. To dwell upon 
them could be of little interest to this generation, for they are mostly 
known by all, and every one has his or her own impression of him 
derived from personal contact. But it may serve to aid the critical 
historian, who in years to come, shall venture to assign him his place 
in history, to know the impressions he made upon his contemporaries ; 
those who were close to him and saw him and walked with him in his 
every-day life, and who heard him, too, when mighty crowds of men 
listened to his eloquence or followed him about obedient to his words. 

It has long since been taken as true that familiarity or close con 
tact with great men greatly impairs the force of the impressions which 
they make upon us. This is due most probably to the fact that no man is 
perfect either in his mental or moral make-up, and close scrutiny re 
veals blemishes which charitable biographers or servile dependants 
are careful not to disclose. But be the cause of it what it may, in most 
cases it is undeniably true that " a prophet is not without honor save 
in his own country. " It is the severest test to which greatness can be 
subjected, this focalized gaze of the multitude at short range. This 
test the fame of Governor Vance stood without diminution or detri- 



1 88 UFE OF VANCE. 

ment. No man ever occupied so many exhalted positions through so 
many years as he did, and yet lived in closer contact with his people, 
or was to such a degree part and parcel of them. His intercourse with 
all classes cultivated and uncultivated was always close and was char 
acterized by an easy and graceful familiarity that placed him in 
thorough touch with them, yet throughout his life he was to them a 
great leader, an infallible guide and an incorruptible patriot. Thus it 
was that when he died, there was manifested everywhere a feeling akin 
to dismay. With one voice men said that the greatest man North Car 
olina ever produced was dead, and that this generation would not see 
his like again. Their hearts were sore, and they wept because they 
loved him, but mingled with their sorrow was the gloomy conscious 
ness that they had sustained a loss which was well nigh irreparable, 
and thus it was seen that he at least was not without honor in his own 
country. But tried by any test, it must be conceded that he was in 
truth a great man, for it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that during 
his whole life he was subjected to trials, and it may be said with equal 
truth that he failed in nothing. His early life was a struggle with 
poverty in a determined effort to procure an education, and in early 
manhood, he emerges from obscurity, and in an incredibly short time 
took his place among the best known and most trusted public men of 
his day in this State. This was at a time of great political agitation. 
The stupendous events of the next few years were rapidly shaping 
themselves. The old Whig party, the sole remnant of the ancient con 
servatism of the country, was making its last stand about the Constitu 
tion and Union. Opposed to it in the South was a party led by many 
brilliant orators, and ardent, brave men, who had dispaired of main 
taining the old Union, and were advocating secession. Gov. Vance 
was a Whig by inheritance, and in this great crisis he ca,me into 
public life as one of its representatives, first in the Legislature 
and then in the National House of Representatives. He was a born 
orator, and his whole soul was enlisted in the cause, and with 
so great a theme, he electrified his audiences above measure. The 
writer remembers to have heard some of these early efforts of his, and 
though he heard him many times afterwards, when time, study and 
varied experience had toned somewhat his ardent spirit, and ripened 
and matured his judgment, he doubts if he ever excelled in true force 
and effectiveness the efforts of those earlier years. The impression 
which he made upon his hearers was enhanced by a decided boyish ap 
pearance, for he had a youthful, almost boyish, face, a bright color, 
and a singularly quick and alert manner. 

These all vanished amid the cares and disappointments of the next 
few years, and when he merged from them, there were lines on his face 
cut deep and traces of sorrow that were never erased. It is doubtful 
if Governor Vance ever enjoyed perfect health after his imprisonment 
at the close of the war, a fact that tends to enhance the wonder at his 



LIFE OF VANCE. 189 

achievements. He had thrown himself into the great struggle be 
tween the sections with all the ardor of his nature, and the disastrous 
result affected him to a degree that was little understood except by 
those who were intimately associated with him. At this time his 
situation was such as might well have broken the spirit of a man less 
resolute and courageous than himself. He had come out of the war 
without means ; he was banned politically by reason of his participa 
tion in the war ; he was threatened with prosecution by the Govern 
ment, and had dependent upon him a devoted wife and a family of 
young children. To those of us who knew him there is no period of 
his life that more fully illustrates his great courage than this. He 
had never previous to this devoted much time to his profession, 
as indeed he had little time to do so, but he resolutely betook himself 
to work in the practice of the law, and in a few years he was in the 
enjoyment of a practice that was lucrative for this section, at that 
time. He was soon recognized as the very foremost jury lawyer in the 
State, and some of his speeches at the bar are still spoken of by his 
contemporaries as among the finest efforts the bar of this State has 
known. 

To one who had devoted almost all of his previous life to the public 
service, the practice of the law was naturally not very congenial, and be 
sides, he, in common with everyone, felt that so soon as his disabilities 
were removed the people of the State would call him again into the 
public service, and so it came about, for the first Democratic Legisla 
ture that was elected in North Carolina after the war elected him to the 
Senate of the United States. How he was refused admittance to the 
Senate, because of his disabilities, how he was afterward nominated by 
his party in the Legislature to the same position, and was defeated by 
Judge Merrimon, are matters of history now. These disappointments 
made his heart sore at the time, but they served only to intensify the 
enthusiasm with which the people of the State w r ere to vindicate him, 
and manifest their love for him in the years to come. Still memorable 
in the history and tradition of this State is the great canvass of 1876 
between Governor Vance and Judge Settle. They had both been prom 
inent as young men in politics before the war, Governor Vance as Whig, 
Judge Settle as a Douglass Democrat, and both had been ardent Union 
men. At the close of the war Judge Settle had allied himself with the 
Republican party, while Governor Vance had devoted himself to build 
ing up the Democratic party. They were not far from the same age. 
They were both men of conspicuous ability, and great reputation as 
public speakers, and it was well understood that the mastery of North 
Carolina for years to come was dependent upon the result of that cam 
paign. Under such circumstances, and with two such men, it was to be 
expected that the contest would be a brilliant one, and so it was. Each 
enhanced his already great reputation, and as a result each in after 
times had marked manifestations of the gratitude and approval of his 



19 LIFE OK VANCE. 

party. As is well known, Governor Vance remained but a short while 
in the gubernatorial office, when, with glad acclamation the people, 
through their representatives, elected him to the Senate. This was a 
great triumph for him, and he was justly proud of it, but when the 
time came for him to take his place in the Senate, it is certain that he 
rather recoiled at the prospect that lay open before him, for he well 
knew that it- meant for him a life of hard study and unremitting labor. 
He had figured conspicuously in the House of Representatives, where 
his brilliant talents made it easy for him to shine, but in the new field 
there were other qualities and new attainments necessary. At that 
time, too, representative men of the South were greatly hampered in 
Congress by the anomalous relation which the reconstructed States 
bore to the general Government. 

The undisguised hostility of the Northern sentiment to the South, 
and the continued threat of further coercion, compelled the exercise 
of prudence and fettered free utterance on the floor of Congress. For 
a bold man like Governor Vance, and one who loved his people, and 
was justly proud of them and their exploits during the war, the pros 
pect was not a pleasing one, and the writer remembers that only a few 
days before he took his leave for Washington, in a conversation in the 
executive office at Raleigh, he spoke rather gloomily of the impend 
ing change, and said that personally he would greatly prefer to remain 
the Governor of the State, and near the people among whom he had 
been born, and with whom he had been so closely identified all his 
life through. The new life in truth entailed upon him arduous toil, 
and many great responsibilities, and they shortened his life, but they 
made for him a great and enduring national reputation. One cannot 
write or think of Governor Vance at any length without constant re 
currence to his marvelous popularity. There was no time from the 
year 1862, when he was first elected Governor, down to the time of his 
death, that he did not absolutely command any position that he de 
sired at the hands of the people. He dictated matters of public policy 
to them, and they followed him without question, and to this day, 
there abides a conviction with them that he was thoroughly unselfish 
in all that he did, and that his wisdom was unerring. The force of his 
great personality in the affairs of this State is best illustrated by the 
fact that the party which he was so largely instrumental in building 
up in the State, maintained its solidity so long as he lived, and well 
nigh went to pieces when he died. It was as if the very principle of 
cohesion had gone out of it when he was no longer at its head. It is 
useless to philosophize upon the character of Governor Vance. His 
people knew him. They had scanned him closely, and they well un 
derstood him. They are not a people given to exaggerate the virtues 
of their public men, but are rather given to caviling and complaining, 
and yet of all who knew him, the dead have left it on record, and the 
living still testify that he was pure of heart, loyal to his people, un 
selfish and absolutely incorruptible. 



LIKE OF VANCE. 1 91 

Those who write the history of his time in years to come will 
find this testimonial written everywhere when he is spoken of. Of the 
arts of the politician Governor Vance knew little or nothing. He did 
not cultivate the faculty of ingratiating himself with the people as 
many public men do with a view of obtaining perferment. His inter 
course with them was always agreeable to him. It was a recreation 
and source of amusement, and he was never better satisfied than when 
he was down among the rural population of North Carolina, living 
their simple life and joining in their homely talk. Social life, as it is 
commonly understood, had very little charm for him, yet in the drawing 
room as elsewhere, people gathered around him, and enjoyed his wit 
and humorous conversation, but the requirements of society life were 
not to his liking, and he much preferred informal, social intercourse 
with those he liked. He has left a reputation as a great humorist, and 
people generally think of him as possessed of a uniform buoyancy 
and vivacity. But this is not true. On the contrary, he experienced 
times of great despondency, at least this was so previous to his going 
into the Senate. During these fits of despondency he suffered acutely, 
and had often difficulty in rousing himself, but he never intruded his 
troubles upon his friends, but rather endured them with the same 
resolute courage that he displayed everywhere. In fact, analyzing his 
character, we would put his courage as foremost among his personal 
characteristics. He had great opportunities to enrich himself during 
his public service, notably during the war, when he was directing the 
war commerce of the State with Europe, and yet he died poor. One 
hesitates to mention honesty in enumerating the virtues of a man like 
Governor Vance, because no one ever associates his name with dis 
honesty. But many men lack true courage, who are otherwise con 
spicuous for their virtues. The personage in history that he most 
admired, were Cromwell, John Hampden, and those other resolute 
men of that time who during nearly half of the seventeenth century 
in Parliament and on the battle field, fought against the tyranny and 
usurpation of the Stuarts. He was accustomed to say that there was no 
courage like theirs, that endured and suffered and fought so long, and 
that to them above all men we were indebted for nearly every principle 
of liberty, and free government that we now enjoy. He hated tyranny 
and oppression in every shape and form, and for those great English 
men who slew a King and overthrew a dynasty that stood in the way 
of their liberties his admiration was unbounded. 

He not only detested oppression, but his resentment of it was 
fierce, and hence, it was that to the last he felt great bitterness over 
his own treatment and that of his people after the war closed. He 
himself had been summarily ejected from the office of Governor to 
which he had been duly elected, and while to him personally, this 
was no lasting grievance, to his people he felt it to be a great wrong. 
He could have forgotten even the indignity of his imprisonment, but 



J 9 2 LIFE OF VANCE. 

the many needless humilations to which the State was subjected dur 
ing the process of reconstruction was to his mind so many instances 
>f oppression and wrong. In later years he did not speak often of 
these things, but when he did it was in terms of wrathful indignation. 
He was genial and forgiving above most men, but it is hard, indeed, 
for a brave, strong, patriotic man to witness in helplessness the humili 
ation of his country, and in the after times to look back upon it 
with patience. In such cases forgiveness comes late if ever, and so it was 
with him. But this was almost the only trace of bitterness to be 
found in him, and it did not impair his capacity for usefulness in the 
councils of the nation. He did not harbor it nor cheerish it. He 
simply could not get rid of it. But it never caused him to do injustice 
to others, and above all, he did not suffer it to lead him to utterances 
that might retard the restoration of peace and fraternal regard be 
tween the two great sections. 

North Carolina may well erect monuments to commemorate his 
virtues and his public services, for to her his services were devotedly 
and ungrudgingly given. It was he, more than all, who rescued her 
from hopeless civil distruction and insured for her a quarter of a cen 
tury of pure, honest government under which her people prospered 
and repaired the wrongs of the war. His fame is a matter of just 
pride to his State and will ever be, but she will not forget that, brilliant 
as his life was, it was fruitful to her of practical results and mutual 
benefits that genius and brilliant achievements do not always effect. 

[From James D. Mclver.] 

I have been asked more than once to give some of the causes of 
Senator Vance s great personal popularity. It is hard to tell where to 
begin and still harder to know just where to end, as the truth seems 
to be that everything was united in one harmonious whole to make 
him the idol of all who knew him. My first acquaintance with him 
was in the army of 1861, when he took command of the Twenty-sixth 
North Carolina Regiment as its Colonel. 

His unbounded wit and humor, kindness of heart and high sense 
of honor made him at once a great favorite with those of us who be 
longed to his command. 

At this time army life, military tactics, drilling, marching, counter 
marching, etc., were all new to us; we had heard of the " times that 
tried men s souls," but knew as yet nothing about them. Our Lieu 
tenant Colonel, H. K. Burgwin, a noble and gallent young man, had 
been brought up in a military school. He was a good tactician and 
taught the officers of the regiment, including Colonel Vance, the 
manual of arms. One day after regimental drill, he informed Colonel 
Vance that he noticed a mistake that he, Vance, had made while on 
drill, and that was that he brought the regiment from present arms 
to order arms, and this, said Colonel Burgwin cannot be done. Vance 



LIFE OF VANCE. 193 

at once replied, " you are mistaken, Colonel, for I have just done that 
very thing." 

On one occasion, while we were in camp on " Bogue Banks, " the 
officer of the guard, while on duty at night, found it necessary to 
send to the Colonel s tent several times for instruction in regard to one 
of the " Pee Dee Wild Cats," then in the guard house. The Colonel 
gave the instruction asked for, and added that he did not care to hear 
any more from Creps, the prisoner, nor from the officer that night. 
The aforesaid officer took exception to this. Feeling that he had done 
his duty and nothing more, he went to Colonel Vance s tent next morn 
ing and told him plainly how he felt about it. The Colonel at once 
made a complete and manly apology, so much so, that he and the 
officer were fast friends from then on. He was uniformly kind and 
agreeable to his officers and men, and never intentionally wounded the 
feelings of any officer or private. To show his kindness of heart and 
sympathy for his men, I remember well on our retreat from Newbern, 
he took a wounded soldier to ride behind him ; and on another occa 
sion, while on a long, hot march from Malvern Hill in July, 1862, he 
noticed a private soldier, almost broken down, with his gun and cum 
bersome knapsack, and called him by name and said: "Here, take 
my horse." . He dismounted and assisted the poor fellow in getting on 
the horse and went on foot with the rest of us. Many other similar in 
stances might be given illustrating the kind-hearted and good man 
that he was. 

He w r as elected Governor while in command of his regiment. I 
can never forget his last night in the army and his final leave-taking 
next day. Before bidding us adieu he made a speech which will never 
be forgotten until the last member of the dear old Twenty-Sixth Regi 
ment shall have passed over the River and are resting under the shade 
of the trees. I will not attempt a synopsis of his speech, for to those 
who knew him, it is sufficient to say that he was then a young man, in 
full vigor and in his happiest mood. After the speech the officers of 
the regiment presented him with a sword. The next day he left for 
Raleigh to become North Carolina s War Governor. His record as 
Governor during the war, and again in 1876, is known and read of all 
men. It may be said of Senator Vance, as has been said of Mr. Glad 
stone, his greatness cannot be estimated because there is nothing with 
which to compare him. 

[From William J. Montgomery.] 

Some one said of Daniel Webster " that he was just like other 
men, except that there was a great deal more of him than there was 
of other men." This could not be said of Senator Vance. He was 
unique had rare and well defined marks of individuality. This in 
dividuality was a potent factor of his power, usefulness and popu 
larity. 

14 



194 LIFE OF VANCE. 

It was seen in all his speeches at the bar, on the hustings, and in 
the halls of Congress. 

Among his prominent characteristics I would mention : 
That he had a large share of common sense together with an in 
tuitive knowledge of men and things and that mother-wit which is 
genius. 

He was conscious of his own power and knew when and where to 
exert it. 

At the moment when utter disaster and hopeless destruction 
seemed inevitable to his cause, then he was at his best, and then it was 
that by a judicious use of an imperial judgment and a genius of almost 
matchless proportions, he was able to employ every variety of polemics 
known to debate, repartee and ridicule, reason and reproach, rhetoric 
and rhapshody, sympathy and scorn, irony and invective, seriousness 
and sarcasm, wit and wisdom, until his opponent bewildered, con 
founded and overwhelmed, retired from the field. 
Senator Vance was a true patriot. 

He loved North Carolina with a love of a devoted son. 
Patriotism is said to be a common impulse, but some people pos 
sess it in a superlative degree ; such was the patriotism of Senator 
Vance. 

He dearly loved every foot of North Carolina soil from Cherokee to 
the Dismal Swamp. 

Another prominent trait of his character was his honesty. You 
could always find him. His strong, well defined beliefs always put 
him on one side of all public questions, and there he stood as 
unchangeable as the rock-ribbed mountains beneath whose sable 
shadows he was born. 

He never bartered his conscience for the applause of the people, 
or for official favor or patronage. 

Senator Vance was a truthful man. 

Suffice it to say on this trait, that after the memorable campaign 
by Senator Vance and Judge Settle in 1876 (the ablest campaign in 
North Carolina in the latter half of the nineteenth century) Judge 
Settle said, " Zeb Vance is absolutely a truthful man, for," said he, 
" in our long heated campaign all over the State Vance never quibbled 
or prevaricated." 

That sometimes he would utter something in one section where it 
was popular when I would get him in another section where it was 
unpopular, I would charge him with it, and he always acknowledged 
that he had said it, and manfully defended it." 

He was a genuine friend of the people, of the masses. He put all 
his time and talent on the altar for the people. His devotion to the 
people was not the sentiment of the politician, but the abiding con 
viction of the statesman. 

He made the cause of the people his cause and boldly threw himself 



LIFE OF VANCE. 195 

into the breach in their defence, against official power, trusts, syndi 
cates, railroads and municipal corporations whenever he felt that they 
were encroaching upon the rights of the people. 

His friendship for the people was not for partisan purposes and it 
grew on him with the increase of years. 

He was for the people "first, last and all the time," and hence they 
were for him. No man was ever so idolized by the people of North 
Carolina as was Senator Vance. 

The simple announcement of his name before a North Carolina 
audience was and is hailed \vith shouts of approval and acclamations 
of delight, because they knew, they realized that he was their friend. 

I remember the day after his death, I was traveling to court through 
the country and met a plain farmer. Says he, " Is Governor Vance 
dead?" I replied, yes. With a sad tone he said " The people have 
lost their best friend. " 

Senator Vance was a very kind, plain man, free from ostentation. 
He abhorred all shams. He was the most approachable great man I 
have ever seen. 

Every honest man, however humble or poor, " felt at home " in 
his presence. 

He grasped the hand of the humble toiler with perhaps more 
cordiality and warmth than he did the hand of the rich or powerful. 

All the people loved him, such was their devotion to him, so great 
was their reliance upon him, that when his death was known the peo 
ple had a feeling akin to that of orphanage. 

I have thus succinctly given my opinion of Senator Vance, confin 
ing myself by request to a few of his prominent characteristics, and to 
the causes of his great popularity. 

I knew him well, having practiced law at the same bar with him 
for ten years. 

Born and reared as he was, beneath the shadows and sunshine of 
great mountains, he caught the inspiration of his life work from his 
surroundings. 

In his childhood he had seen the storm-cloud move in majesty 
along " the misty mountain s top " and burst in awful grandeur upon 
the world below. 

He had seen " the morn in russet mantle clad, walk o er the dew 
of yon high eastern hill," and then he had seen the sunset s mellow 
glow silently garnish the heavens in golden beauty. 

I have heard him when in speech he was like the mountain tor 
rent like the concreted tempest in force, and again when he was as 
gentle and pathetic as the mother at the grave of her dead. Rare 
genius, true tribune of the people, as unselfish and self-sacrificing as 
Regulus, as just as Aristides and as brave as Caesar ; let him sleep in 
the grave where Carolinians have buried him, where no cry of oppres 
sion can awake him, where no sound of conflict in debate can arouse 
him. 



196 UFE OF VANCE. 

[From William M. Robbins.] 

At High Point, in the summer of 1864, while on leave of absence 
from the Confederate army, by reason of a wound received at the battle 
of the wilderness, I first saw and heard Vance and learned what man 
ner of man he was. Thirty-four years old, he was then serving his 
first term as Governor of the State and was a candidate for re-election. 
His speech on that occasion won my admiration not only by its spark 
ling wit and rare humor, but still more by the zeal and vigor with 
which he advocated the strenuous support of the cause of the South 
in the great sectional conflict. This impressed and pleased me the 
more when I learned, as I did that day, that he had not originally 
favored the policy of secession, but when North Carolina cast her lot 
with her sister Southern States, he had gone with her, heart and soul, 
resolved to share her fate and fortune for weal or woe; and when she 
called him to be her Governor, it was from the camps of her heroes in 
gray that he responded. 

His course in that matter was an index to his character and career 
through life. Above all things, he was a North Carolinian, devoted to 
the welfare and glory of the State, and proud of her, as he was her 
pride. 

It has so happened from the course of events during the last age 
that the chief role of the statesman and patriot in North Carolina, a 
large part of the time has been to stand on the defensive in her behalf 
against assaults from without and within upon her most vital interests, 
political and social. It has rarely been possible for her to unfurl her 
sails with confidence to the favoring breezes of progress. The word 
has been, not " forward, march," but " stand fast and defend." 

After the great convulsion of the Civil War which totally wrecked 
her former social fabric, there came the. strenuous contest against the 
predatory rule of the cormorants who followed in the wake of the 
Union army, and after its withdrawal lingered behind to rob and 
despoil us. Moreover, there has been all the while going on a struggle, 
which, unhappily, is not yet ended, involving nothing less than the pre 
servation of genuine free popular institutions and even our Anglo-Saxon 
civilization itself against the corrupting and corroding influences of a 
debased and venal suffrage so improvidently placed in the hands of 
a race alien in origin, incapable of absorption and assimilation, and 
without traditions or experience of self government. 

Under these circumstances, Vance suffered the disadvantage com 
mon to many others, of not being able to link his name, so much as it 
otherwise might have been, with great positive progressive measures 
devised and put in operation for the advancement and glory of the 
State and her people ; but his fame must rest rather upon what he did 
to rescue and shield them from injury and evil. 

As a war Governor, Vance certainly had no superior if any equal in 
the SouthernJ[State. His wise and energetic administration of affairs, 



UFE OF VANCE. 197 

sustained as it was by the devoted patriotism and high spirit of the 
people, enabled North Carolina to put more soldiers in the field during 
the war, according to the Confederate records, than any other South 
ern State, and to keep them better clothed, shod and supplied than 
any others. Such at least was the prevalent opinion and common 
remark of the Confederate soldiers from other States, for whom I 
venture to speak on this matter, having myself served through the 
war as an Alabamian. His conspicuous activity and efficiency in 
support of the Southern cause made such an impression upon the 
Federal authorities that after our defeat he was among the first to be 
arrested and imprisoned by them as one of the chief offenders ; and 
their feelings of resentment against him were so bitter and lasting 
that they refused to remove his political disabilities after most others 
who asked for it had been relieved ; and he was thereby kept out of a 
seat in the United States Senate for the term beginning in 1871, to 
which he had been elected by the General Assembly of North Caro 
lina. It was soon after this that two Christian ministers, traveling 
with him on the train, got into an argument over the theological doc 
trine of election, and finally asked Vance for his opinion on it, to 
whom he at once replied, that so far as he could see election did a 
sinner no good unless his disabilities were removed. 

For some years after the period of reconstruction in i867~ 68 the 
government of the State, in all its departments, was in the hands of 
the Northern camp-followers and spoilsmen, commonly called "car 
pet-baggers," together with a handful of native white allies, of whom 
a few were honest men swayed by old Whig and Union prejudices, but 
the majority, known in those days as "scalawags," were men without 
political convictions or principles, mere time-servers, greedy for office 
and filthy lucre. The ladder upon which this motley band of political 
marauders climbed to place and power was the hundred thousand votes 
of the newly enfranchised Africans. These were simply a body of 
grown up children, not naturally bad-hearted nor evil-disposed, but 
completely dazed by their situation and surroundings, densely ignorant 
in every respect and especially in regard to the duties and responsibili 
ties of citizenship. 

The decisive contest for the overthrow of the aliens and their 
allies, and the restoration of the State to the control of the intelligent 
and substantial classes of her people, was made in the stirring cam 
paign of 1876. Then it was that Vance, hitherto hampered by political 
disabilities, was called to the front as the leader. It was a contest 
which had to be won first on the hustings and then at the polls. Judge 
Settle, the champion of the adverse party, was a foeman worthy of any 
man s steel and more nearly a match for Vance than perhaps any other 
opponent who could have been selected. The result is well known. 
After probably the most brilliant canvass in the annals of the State, 
Vance overthrew his adversary at the polls and was triumphantly 



198 LIFE OF VANCE. 

chosen Governor of North Carolina, the first one of his party after the 
civil war. 

Before the people as a hustings orator, Vance was magnificent and 
unrivalled. This largely arose from the fact that he was himself 
really in every fibre of his nature one of the common people. Reared 
among them, associating with them freely from boyhood, he imbibed 
their simple tastes, adopted their unstilted manners, learned to sym 
pathize with their views and to look at men and things, events and 
measures, through their spectacles. With his bright genius and quick 
perception, he could see further and more clearly, but he saw every 
thing from the standpoint and through the predilections and prejudices 
of the common man. When mingling with the people, his cordial 
manners and unfailing bonhomie were no studied arts of the dema 
gogue, but the spontaneous outflow of his genuine sympathies. The 
result was that the common people came to feel instinctively that he 
was one of them and one with them ; that in him they had a friend 
and champion who could always be counted upon ; so that it may be 
truthfully said that of all the great and justly venerated citizens in our 
State s history, " our Zeb," as he was fondly called, was the most pop 
ular and beloved by all classes of North Carolinians. 

In every gathering of men on whatever occasion, in public or pri 
vate, at political meetings, at the courts, with the lawyers, on the 
railroad trains, everywhere and among all sorts of people, the arrival 
of Vance caused every face to beam with satisfaction and glad antici 
pations of increased enjoyment, wit, wisdom and hilarity, and a good 
time generally. 

In his speeches, especially in political discussions before a miscel 
laneous audience, probably no man ever excelled him in clearness of 
statement, aptness of illustration, vivacity of style, naturalness of 
manner, quickness of repartee, humorous hits, side-splitting anecdotes 
and all those rare gifts which enable a speaker to command the unflag 
ging attention of his hearers as long as he chooses. Thousands of 
living men all over North Carolina have witnessed his wonderful 
powers. I remember hearing him speak at Newton, in Catawba 
county, in October, 1888, to about two thousand of the yeomanry of 
that section. It w r as near the close of the Presidential campaign and 
Vance was quite worn down with travel and much speaking during the 
canvass ; and as the speaking that day was outdoors in the courtyard 
where few seats were to be had, most of his audience were obliged to 
remain standing. And yet he talked to them on the tariff question, 
usually considered so dry and abstruse, for nearly two hours and a 
half, brought all the phases of the subject within the comprehension 
of the humblest understanding, while scarcely a man moved out of his 
tracks except to press closer to the speaker, all being fascinated and 
spell-bound by the wizard-like skill with which he amused while he 
instructed them. His speech was a wonderful specimen of pure didac- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 199 

tics made as entertaining as a comedy, and ended amid cries of "go 
on go on " from all over his audience. I said to myself then : 
" There s no other American could have made that speech." 

From his entry into the Senate of the United States in 1879, Vance 
was a prominent figure there. Diligent in mastering the great ques 
tions of public policy which from time to time came up for decision, 
he was one of those who could always command a hearing because he 
always had something to say and knew how to say it in a forcible and 
entertaining style. By his geniality of temper and whole-souled kind 
liness in social intercourse, he won the hearts of Senators of all sections 
and parties. Many of those who differed from him most widely in 
political views and party affiliations were his most devoted friends and 
admirers, and after his death his most eloquent eulogists. 

Vance was a statesman in his grasp of public questions, his intel 
lectual power, his learning, and his deep insight into the tendencies 
and ultimate results of political measures. He distinguished himself 
particularly in the Senate in the debates upon the tariff and the cur 
rency. His course on these and on all other questions was invariably 
shaped by that which was the guiding star of his entire life-devotion 
to what seemed to him for the best interest and true welfare of the 
masses of the people. However one may differ from him in opinion 
concerning the details of measures and policies, or may doubt the wis 
dom of his course in certain critical junctures of our recent political 
history, no fair man will deny that his heart was always true to what 
he deemed right, that his steady aim was to help those who needed 
help, and that he was an incorruptible public servant, and a genuine 
tribune of the people. 

Nothing in the history of North Carolina has been more dramatic 
and touching than the manner in which all classes of the people, men, 
women and children turned out and lined the railway along the whole 
route from Raleigh to Asheville and all through the night around their 
bonfires, to view with tearful eyes his funeral cortege as it passed bear 
ing his honored remains to their last resting-place amid his dear native 
mountains. 

The Grecian sage said: " Call no man happy til he is dead. " But 
surely we may call him happy whose dying pillow was softened by the 
memory of a life spent in the fathful service of his fellowmen, whose 
death-gloom was lighted by the Christian s hope, and who was borne 
to the tomb amid the tears of all his countrymen, saying with one 
voice: " Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this 
day in Israel ? " 

[From Alfred Moore Waddell.] 

The death of Zebulon B. Vance closed the career of the most 
beloved and one of the ablest of North Carolinians. It is, beyond 
question, a fact that no one in the whole history of the State was ever so 



200 LIFE OF VANCE. 

dear to the hearts of its people as he; that there was no one whom they 
so delighted to honor or in whom they had so absolute and abiding con 
fidence. His popularity was phenomenal, and it was justified by his 
public services and by his endowments. Heredity and environment, 
as in every case, helped to make him what he was, but cannot be credited 
with all that he accomplished. He would have been a great man any 
where in this country, and a greater man, perhaps, so far as national 
reputation is to be considered, if he had lived out of North Carolina, from 
which State, for some reason just or unjust, the country has not seemed 
to expect great things or great men. The circumstances attending his 
first entrance into public life, and the earlier part of his career, were 
favorable for the display of certain qualities which he possessed in an 
eminent degree, and he grew steadily afterwards. Those circum 
stances were to be found in the locality in which, and the people 
among whom, he lived, and in the condition of the country and the 
state of public feeling at that time. 

It was during the restless period immediately before the war be 
tween the States. He was, in the party nomenclature of that time, a 
Whig and enthusiastically devoted to the preservation of the Union. 
Having already been a member of the Legislature from his native 
county, he became a candidate for Congress from the mountain dis 
trict, which was supposed to be hopelessly against him, and he so 
astonished and delighted the people by his varied powers as a " stump " 
speaker that they elected him and from that time he became their 
political idol, as he afterwards became the recognized leader of all the 
people of the State. Because of his exuberance of animal spirits, his 
unrivalled wit, his irresistible power of good-natured ridicule, his in 
exhaustible resources as a story-teller and illustrator of argument by 
apposite anecdotes, and, best of all, because of his virile common sense, 
he always won the hearts and swayed the judgments of the people. 

Elevated to the office of Governor of the State at the early age of 
thirty-two, after the war had begun, he at once arose to the dignity of 
the position, and entered upon the discharge of its duties with a full 
comprehension of all its responsibilities. That he discharged them 
with marked ability and with supreme devotion to the welfare of North 
Carolina and the Confederacy is attested by the title given him the 
great War-Governor of North Carolina. Again elected to the govern 
orship after the war was over and after a magnificent canvass of the 
State which demonstrated his very great ability as a debater and popu 
lar orator, he was promoted to a seat in the Senate of the United States 
where he fully sustained his reputation, and won the respect and affec 
tion of his associates as a statesman of large views, varied learning, and 
incorruptibly integrity as a patriot who earnestly strove to promote 
the honor of his country and the welfare of its people, and as a man 
whose genial and generous nature attracted like a magnet all who came 
within the sphere of his influence. So much as an epitome of his 
public life. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 2OI 

Allusion has already been made to the locality in which, and the 
people among whom, he lived as influential in shaping his career. 
Born and reared amid the loftiest mountain ranges (except the Rocky 
mountains) on this continent, his physical frame partook of their rug- 
gedness and strength ; but as in their recesses soft vales and tinkling 
streams and beautiful landscapes abound, so in the depths of his intel 
lectual and moral nature there was hidden a wealth of poetry, and 
sentiment, and human sympathy, of which those who saw only the 
outer man never dreamed. No musical instrument ever responded 
more promptly to the touch of a skilled hand than did he to the utter 
ance of a lofty or noble sentiment, or the recital of a pathetic incident, 
and there were often in his speeches and essays passages of thrilling 
eloquence and poetic beauty, which could only have come from a head 
and heart attuned to harmony with such thoughts and feelings. Yet 
a more unpretending man never lived, and this was one of the secrets 
of his strong hold upon the hearts of the people. To them he was 
always " Zeb " Vance, whether in his familiar intercourse with them, 
or in the Governor s mansion or the Senate chamber. He sincerely 
loved his State and people, and they knew it, and loved him in return. 
But, more than this, they knew that he was honest and faithful and 
courageous that he had decided convictions on public questions and 
was as fearless as he was powerful in expressing them. Therefore, in 
every crisis which confronted them, they turned to him for counsel 
and leadership with a confidence which was inspiring, and they were 
never disappointed in the result. There have been many men in the 
State whom the people honored and respected and elevated to posi 
tions of trust, but never one so close to their hearts as he. 

Could this have been unless he possessed very rare gifts and quali 
ties ? And especially when the characteristics of the people among 
whom he lived are considered ? They are not given to hero-worship ; 
they are an exceedingly conservative people, and, though like others, 
sometimes misled, are apt to recover and keep to the old paths. They 
are slow perhaps in doing so, as they are in many other respects, but 
they are quite sure. They never, however, changed toward Vance. 
From the time of his first election as Governor, in 1862, to the day 
when he was buried beneath the shadows of his native mountains, 
their love, and admiration, and confidence not only remained steadfast, 
but grew and strengthened continuously. 

Again the question presents itself : Why ? The answer may be 
found in the character and genius of the man, and in his services to 
the State and people. In this brief paper it is not proposed to discuss 
his services, but only to indicate some of the characteristics which 
secured for him such unparalleled popularity. 

It has already been said that he would have been a great man any 
where in this country, and the limitation " in this country " was used 
because greatness here, except in some special art or science, is largely 



202 UFE OF VANCE. 

dependent upon public opinion. He could never have achieved great 
ness as a courtier, for every instinct of his nature would have rebelled 
against the process. He was too sturdy and independent, too manly 
and self-respecting to bend the pregnant hinges of the knee to any 
earthly power ; but the public opinion in any State of this Union in 
which he had chosen to make his home would have assured to him a 
position of eminence. His own State conferred upon him, during a 
critical period, the highest honors within her gift, and afterwards sent 
him to represent her in the national Senate to represent her and not 
merely to be called a Senator and he always proved equal to every 
position which he held. As Governor, his executive ability was con 
spicuous. His messages and other writings were characterized by the 
practical common sense which he always applied to public affairs, and 
sometimes, during the war period, glowed with genuine eloquence. 
Up to that time he had not been a close student of books, especially of 
such as constitute what is called polite literature ; but afterwards he 
applied himself quite diligently to them, and the effect appeared in the 
more polished style of his speeches and writing. This first manifested 
itself about the time he prepared his striking lecture on "The Scattered 
Nation. " But his culture had nothing to do with his popularity, ex 
cept that it increased the respect and esteem of educated people toward 
him. It was the combination of qualities which generally goes by the 
name of personal magnetism that constituted the basis of it, and this 
was supplemented by varied powers which could not fail to impress 
and attract others. 

So exuberent was his humor that in his earlier career many per 
sons who, on a slight acquaintance only, saw that side of him, thought 
he was a mere jester who possessed a lively mind and an inexhaustible 
fund of anecdotes, but nothing more. It is true that he indulged this 
humorous-story telling propensity in his public speeches, but, as he 
said to the writer of these pages on one occasion, he never told a funny 
anecdote in a speech except for the purpose of illustrating an argu 
ment which he wished to impress upon his hearers ; and experience 
has long since proved that to be the most effective method of accom 
plishing such a purpose. 

Associated with this abnormally developed sense of humor there was 
a ready wit, which, though keen-edged as a scimitar, w r as so tempered 
by the kindly spirit of the man that no soreness ever followed its 
thrust. His big heart was full of the milk of human kindness but, as 
is almost always true of such a nature, it was as full of courage as that 
of a Nemean lion. The people love such a man, and when he exhibits 
these qualities in the protection of their interests and the advancement 
of their welfare they are not slow to make due acknowledgment of it. 

But they saw much more in him. They felt his power as an 
orator ; they regarded him, as "Sunset" Cox pronounced him to be, 
the greatest " stump speaker " in America ; they were proud of him 



LIFE OF VANCE. 203 

as their Senator ; but more than all they loved him as their true friend 
who sympathized with them, not as is too often the case, in words 
only and with selfish motives, but in his heart and with an honest 
desire to promote the common weal, and to discharge his whole duty 
to them loyally and to the fullest extent of his great ability. He 
believed in the people and in their capacity for self government, and 
they believed in him as the truest and best representative and expon 
ent of their ideas and aspirations. No worthy citizen ever doubted 
the existence of this mutual trust and confidence, and therefore 
Zebulon B. Vance occupied a place separate and apart from all others 
in public estimation and stands alone in the history of North Carolina. 



204 LIFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

AS GOVERNOR AFTER THE WAR BY DR. CHAS. D. M lVER, 
PRESIDENT STATE NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE. 

As Successful in Peace as in War The Friend of Education Extract 
from Inaugural Address Favors Normal Schools for Teachers at 
the University and Elsewhere as a Necessity for Public Schools 
Provided for by State Constitution Normal School for Colored 
Teachers Recommended The First Official Utterance for Educa 
tion and Which Resulted in Establishing Summer Normal Schools 
and Institutes at the University and the State Normal and Indus 
trial School Extract from Message to Legislature in 1879 First 
Official Recommendation to Admit Female Teachers to Normal 
Schools Refused Presidency of University His Reasons Still 
Pleads for Education in the U. S. Senate. 

ANCE was inaugurated Governor of the State for .the 
third time in January, 1877. His other terms had 
been begun and ended amid the tumultuous scenes of civil 
war, but peace had now resumed its sway, though desola 
tion was seen on every hand. Having proved himself equal 
to all the emergencies incident to a state of war, he was 
now called upon to administer the arts of peace for the re 
cuperation of his State and people. Although his field of 
labor was widely different now, and the duties before him 
quite in contrast with such as engaged his attention during 
his two former terms, yet great as his reputation was as 
a brilliant and efficient war Governor, it cannot be denied 
that he proved himself equally wise, industrious and patri 
otic in the performance of his public duties during his 
third term in the executive chair notably in the new and 
quickening impulse he gave to the cause of education. 

There are few well-informed citizens of North Carolina 
who do not regard the statesmanship of Vance as the 
most many-sided of all the examples of statesmanship in 



LIFE OF VANCE. 205 

her history. His brilliant talents and versatile genius make 
him easily the first in rank among the political leaders pro 
duced during a century of the life of a State that has reason 
to be proud of the statesmen she has given to the world. 

Coming into manhood just in time to enter the storm 
brought on by secession and the civil war, becoming at 
once his State s chief actor in the great drama of that period 
remaining, through the fierce struggles immediately follow 
ing the civil war up to the day of his death, the most intrepid 
and best beloved political leader of his day, it is but natural 
that his record as North Carolina s war Governor and his 
pre-eminent success as a political leader should eclipse that 
side of his statesmanship relating to the arts of peace and 
the education of his people. Yet I believe that, broadly 
speaking, the education of the people was the greatest and 
most permanent concern of this great statesman, who, 
whether calling himself Whig, Union man, Secessionist, 
Conservative, or Democrat, always based his political phil 
osophy on the truth that "all governments derive their just 
powers from the consent of the governed," and that this is 
"a government of the people, by the people, and for the 
people." These two maxims, which might be regarded 
respectively as the golden texts of the political doctrine of 
Thomas Jefferson and of Abraham Lincoln, when adopted 
by any intelligent man, force him to the conclusion that the 
most important civil institution in the State is a public 
school. No man can really believe in a Republican form 
of government who does not base his political philosophy 
upon the intelligence and right training of all the people. 
Nor do I believe it possible for any man who does not, in 
the bottom of his heart, believe in universal intelligence as 
the supreme need of a prosperous, free State, to hold per 
manently the first place in the affections of the people. 

To show how thoroughly Vance believed in this doctrine, 
I might make many quotations from his various public 



206 LIFE OF VANCE. 

utterances, but one will suffice. The following is a copy of 
his message to the General Assembly of 1877: 

In regard to the great subject of education, I earnestly desire to 
engage your attention in behalf of the accompanying " Memorial of 
the Central North Carolina Teachers Association," which is herewith 
transmitted. Perhaps the most effective action which your honorable 
body could take to promote the cause of public education would be 
the establishing of a school of normal instruction at the University 
for the exclusive education of teachers. This would be only a com 
pliance with the plain provisions of the Constitution, and would be a 
long step in the direction of connecting the University with the common 
school system as the head and guide thereof, which is its natural posi 
tion. It is impossible to have an effective public school system with 
out providing for the training of teachers. The blind cannot lead the 
blind. Mere literary attainments are not sufficient to make its pos 
sessor a successful instructor. There must be added ability to influence 
the young and to communicate knowledge. There must be a mastery 
of the best modes of conducting schools, and of bringing out the latest 
possibilities, intellectual and moral, of the pupil s nature. In some 
rare cases these qualities are inborn, but generally it is of vast advan 
tage to teachers to be trained by those who have studied and mastered 
the methods which have been found by experience to be the most 
successful in dispelling ignorance and inculcating knowledge. The 
schools in which this training is conducted, called normal colleges, or 
normal schools, have been found by experience to be the most efficient 
agents in raising up a body of teachers who infuse new life and vigor 
into the public schools. There is urgent need for one, at least, in 
North Carolina. 

The Constitution of the State, in Section 4, Article IX, requires the 
General Assembly, as soon as practicable, to establish and maintain, 
in connection with the University, a department of Normal Instruc 
tion. I respectfully submit that it is now practicable to make a be 
ginning in carrying out this provision of the Constitution. There 
cannot possibly be found in this State competent teachers for our 
public schools. The records of the county examiners show that most 
of the applicants for the post of imparting knowledge to others, are 
themselves deficient in the simplest elements of spelling, reading, 
writing and arithmetic. The University is now in successful opera 
tion. If the General Assembly should appropriate an amount 
sufficient to establish one professorship for the purpose of instructing 
in the theory and art of teaching, I am persuaded the best results 
would follow. 

A school of similar character should be established for the educa 
tion of colored teachers, the want of which is more deeply felt by the 
black race even than the white. In addition to the fact that it is our 



LIFE OF VANCE. 207 

plain duty to make no discrimination in the matter of public educa 
tion, I cannot too strongly urge upon you the importance of the 
consideration that whatever of education we may be able to give the 
children of the State, should be imparted under our own auspices, and 
with a thorough North Carolina spirit. Many philosophical reasons 
can be given in support of this proposition. . I am conscious of few 
things more dangerous than for a State to suffer the education of an 
entire class of its citizens to drift into the hands of strangers, most of 
whom are not attached to our institutions, if not positively unfriendly 
to them. 

There are in the State several very respectable institutions for the 
education of black people, and a small endowment to one of them 
would enable it to attach a normal school sufficient to answer the 
present needs of our black citizens. Their desire for education is an 
extremely creditable one, and should be gratified as far as our means 
will permit. In short, I regard it as an unmistakable policy to imbue 
these black people with a hearty North Carolina feeling, and make 
them cease to look abroad for the aids to their progress and civiliza 
tion, and the protection of their rights as they have been taught to do, 
and teach them to look to their State instead ; to convince them that 
their welfare is indissolubly linked with ours. 

This is his first official utterance on the subject of edu 
cation after the great civil strife. The negro race had 
been free for a decade. While the majority of that race 
loved and admired him then, and revere his memory to 
this day, yet it is a well known fact that practically their 
solid vote had been cast against him in the great political con 
test fought out a few months before. It could surprise no one 
who knew the author, yet it is pleasant to note the breadth 
of view, the tact in statement, and the kindly sympathy, 
which appear in that part of his message relating to the 
education of the negro race. 

This message also shows his keen appreciation of the 
fact that the most important part of a school is not the 
house, the text book or even the length of the school term, 
but the teacher. It was Garfield who said that the best 
school he ever attended was when he sat on one end of a 
log with Mark Hopkins on the other. 

Thus the work for the professional training of the 
teacher by the State, which has since grown into summer 



208 LIFE OF VANCE. 

normal schools, institutes, a department of pedagogics at 
the University, and the State Normal and Industrial Col 
lege for Women, began under his administration and with 
his earnest personal and official support. 

It is not generally known, but it is a fact, that soon after 
the war, a State Superintendent of Public Instruction, who, 
though a political opponent, was a personal friend of 
Vance, asked him to canvass the State for public educa 
tion. I am informed that this proposition was considered 
seriously, but there was no fund to pay his expenses and 
the salary which could be offerded was very small. Vance s 
means at that time were too limited to allow him to under 
take the work, though he expressed the greatest interest in 
it, and a desire to do such service for his State. 

I incorporate here an interesting extract from Vance s 
message to the Legislature of 1879, just before his election 
to the United States Senate : 

I am happy to be able to state that an increased interest is mani 
fested among all classes in popular education. This, I believe, is due 
to the action of the last Legislature in appropriating money for the 
establishment of normal schools. In accordance with the law, the 
Board of Education established the one for the whites at the Univer 
sity, and decided to locate one for the blacks at Fayetteville, in a 
building tendered by the colored people of that place. They were 
established on somewhat different systems, regard being had to the 
circumstances of each race. It was considered that the white race 
already had many educated teachers who simply needed instruction on 
the art of teaching, whilst the blacks needed teachers instructed in 
both the elements of learning and the art of teaching. For the one, 
therefore, a six weeks school was held at Chapel Hill during the sum 
mer vacations, and for the other, a permanent school was established 
in Fayetteville. Both have been remarkably successful. At the first 
session of the white school 225 teachers attended, and at the second 
one, the past summer, more than 400 teachers were present, represent 
ing about sixty counties. An excellent corps of instructors was 
employed. The University gave the use of its buildings, its libraries, 
laboratories and apparatus. The railroads very generously gave re 
duced rates. The agent of the Peabody Fund supplemented the 
appropriation with a handsome donation, and every dollar that could 
be spared was used to equalize the benefits of the State s bounty by 
paying the traveling expenses of the more indigent. Lectures by dis- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 2OQ 

tinguished citizens of the State on popular themes were delivered 
almost daily with the best results. The undoubted effect of the whole 
was to arouse an enthusiastic interest in behalf of popular education 
among a large portion of our people, and to excite a spirit of honest 
pride in their noble calling among all the teachers present, which will, 
it is hoped, do much good. 

The accompanying report of President Battle is referred to for par 
ticulars. 

The Colored Normal School at Fayetteville was put in charge of 
Mr. Robert Harris, a native colored man, of excellent character and 
capacity, supervised by a board of local managers selected from the 
best business citizens of the town who took a great interest in its wel 
fare. It has been managed with unexpected success. The first session 
opened with 58 pupils, about 40 of whom have received certificates as 
teachers, some of high grade. The second year began with 74 pupils 
and is now in progress. The same donation was made to this school 
by the Peabody Fund as to the white school, and the same scheme 
adopted to equalize its benefits. The report of Mr. Harris, to which 
you are referred, will be surprising, as I am sure it will be pleasing, 
to all who. desire the real welfare of our colored citizens. 

I sincerely hope, the appropriation for both schools may be re 
newed, and the law be made to embrace both sexes. For, though 
females have attended both schools by permission, yet the Board of 
Education did not feel at liberty to expend any money in their aid, 
which was a little ungallant for so chivalrous a people as ours, who 
are so well aware that as a general rule our female teachers are better 
than the males. The excellently worded memorial of the teachers 
themselves which accompanies the report of President Battle, is 
especially commended to your favor. 

This message breathes the same spirit of interest in 
every class of people in the State which characterized his 
first message, and, so far as I know, it is the first official 
recognition, in a gubernatorial message, of that strange and 
unwise discrimination against women in the educational 
investments of the State. It is surprising that he should 
not have emphasized the matter more than he did, and as 
tonishing that his suggestions should not have produced a 
greater immediate effect. 

To his alma mater, the State University, Vance was a 
most loyal son. The first time that I saw the University in 
1877, I heard Vance s address on the life and public ser 
vices of David L. Swain, the friend of his boyhood and 

is 



210 LIFE OF VANCK. 

college days, whose memory he always revered with filial 
affection. 

In this connection it shows the estimate placed upon 
Vance s educational power and spirit, that, when the Uni 
versity was revived in 1875, many of the ablest men in the 
State desired that he should become its president, thinking 
that the mantle of President Swain would be worn worthily 
and successfully by his friend and pupil. When he was 
asked if he would accept the presidency of the University, 
he dismissed the subject by saying, "No, say to my friends 
that it would kill me in a few weeks to be obliged to be 
have as is required of a college president in order to furnish 
an example to the boys. " 

But, beneath his good-natured humor, which never 
forsook him when he desired to dismiss pleasantly the con 
sideration of a subject, there were probably concealed his 
real reasons for not accepting so responsible a position. 
With the eye of a genuine seer, in the arena of politics he 
saw what he believed to be his greatest field of usefulness, 
and, judging from his messages to the Legislature, he 
probably discerned also the dawn of that day when educa 
tional institutions would be managed, as they ought to be 
managed, by trained and experienced educators. 

If we follow him to the United States Senate, we find 
him still a champion of education. Some portions of his 
speech, in which he replied to Senator Ingalls, in favor of 
the Blair bill to promote education, are characteristic not 
only of his watchful care of his people s interests, but also 
of his unique and boundless humor and of his ability as a 
debater. No questions seemed thoroughly to arouse him in 
that great forum except the three subjects of the education 
of the [people, our financial system, and Federal taxa 
tion. The two latter subjects naturally engaged the greater 
portion of his^attention as a Senator. But, with a country 
divided, with even political parties divided, with expert 
students of finance and taxation disagreed and hopeless of 



LIFE OF VANCE. 211 

agreement, is it not the supreme question of statesmanship 
that the people, who must be the final arbiters of these great 
problems, should have such intellectual training as will 
make them equal to the conditions of their day, so that they 
may meet wisely the duties and privileges of citizenship? 
What North Carolinian has not been thrilled by the 
accounts of how his last great message was delivered from 
the United States Senate, while political friend and foe 
surrounded him that they might catch the words which 
his hand was almost too palsied to write and his tongue 
almost too feeble too utter? Without entering into the 
merits of the cause which he advocated in that speech, his 
closing words may be applied to many another problem 
which cannot be settled save by the intelligence of the 
mass of voters in this country. 

"It was said that the string of the bow of Ulysses warned him of 
approaching danger by singing him a^song of battle and of strife. Let 
me say to those conspirators against the welfare of the common people, 
that before they shall finally succeed in their unhallowed designs, and 
drive them through the valley of the shadow of death, they will see 
many a field of political battle, and hear the roar of much political 
strife. 

"In this fair land the thunderbolts of Jove dwell still with those 
whose voice is as the voice of God, and the bow of Ulysses is yet in the 
people s hands, and its quiver is filled with death-dealing darts. Its 
strings will yet sing many a song of battle to awaken the sleeping 
people, and upon every plain and in every valley and upon every 
mountain side, from shore to shore of our inclosing seas, they will 
spring to their feet at the calling of that music, with a light of conflict 
on their faces and the resolve of victory in their hearts." 

And are we not justified in believing that the closing 
words of that great message, "To your tents, O Israel!" 
were accompanied by a prayer that his people might be 
wise enough to fit themselves by education for meeting 
the responsibilities and emergencies of coming conflicts. 



212 UFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER XV. 

DEATH OF MOTHER AND WIFE. 

Death of His Mother Her Characteristics Death of His Wife Her 
Funeral and Burial. 



dark shadows fell upon the pathway of Governor 
Vance during- his third term in the executive office. 
His aged and greatly beloved mother, Mrs. Margaret M. 
Vance, died on the 4th of October, 1878, and his devoted and 
affectionate wife died on the 3d day of November following. 
Of the former, a contemporary newspaper said: "She was in 
many respects an extraordinary woman, and considering the 
influence she quietly exercised in rearing her children, de 
serves well to be honored and revered in memory by the 
people of the State. She was born December 22, 1802, and 
was of that famous Scotch-Irish stock which did so much to 
establish the liberties of North Carolina and to promote its 
Christianity and civilization. Her father was the late 
Zebulon Baird, a Scotch New Jersey settler, who was among 
the first to find a home beyond the Blue Ridge on the French 
Broad, and who represented Buncombe county for many 
years in the Legislature. Her mother was Hannah Erwin, 
of that numerous and influential family of Irish descent 
still claiming Burke county as their tribal home. Among 
her early school-mates were the late Governor Swain of our 
own State and Governor Perry of South Carolina. On the 
2d day January, 1825, she was married to Capt. David 
Vance. She bore him eight children four sons and four 
daughters. The latter are all living and married; of the 
sons only two survive, Hon. Robert B. Vance and Governor 
Zebulon B. Vance. In 1844 her husband died, leaving seven 
children to be reared and educated and an estate much 






MOTHER OF Z. B. VANCE. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 213 

embarrassed with debt. With firmness and courage she 
met the heavy responsibilities thus cast upon her. She was 
her children s best teacher in morality, in worldly business, 
and in uprightness and integrity. A constant and intelli 
gent reader, she fostered a literary taste in her children 
and early inculcated in them a love of books. Those who 
have heard her read to her family the Pilgrim s Progress or 
Ivanhoe would be at no loss to determine where her dis 
tinguished sons obtained their humor and eloquence. 

"In early life she joined the Presbyterian Church, but after 
her husband s death, finding herself cut off from the minis 
trations of that church by the location of her home in the 
mountains, she joined the Methodist Church, for whose 
traveling ministers her house had long been a hospitable 
home, and she remained in that church until her death. Not 
a human being knew her but sorrowed at her death. An 
odor of blessedness pervaded every thought of her when 
people recalled her life, and many Christians thanked God 
for such an example of her service, while all hearts thanked 
Him that such a mother had been given to the world." 

As before stated Governor Vance was called upon to 
follow the remains of his wife to the grave within less than 
a month after his mother was buried. The death of Mrs. 
Vance was announced by her pastor, Rev. Dr. Atkinson, as 
follows: 

"It is my painful duty to announce the death of Mrs. 
Harriette Newell Espy Vance, the wife of Hon. Z. B. 
Vance, the Governor of this State. Mrs. Vance, daughter 
of the late Rev. Thomas Espy, pastor of the Presbyterian 
Church at Salisbury, was born in that town July nth, 1832. 
She joined the Presbyterian church in Morganton, then under 
the pastoral care of the Rev. John Wilson, in the sixteenth 
year of her age. August 3d, 1853, she was united in mar 
riage to Zebulon B. Vance. November 3d, 1878, she died 
in the city of Raleigh, after a long and painful illness, 
which she bore with the most exemplary faith and patience, 



214 WFE OF VANCE. 

sustained by the hope of the gospel, and sanctified by the 
spirit of grace. There was no lady in the State more wide 
ly known or more highly honored. A child of the Cove 
nant, she early learned to love and serve the Savior, and the 
light of heavenly grace kindled in her young heart, continued 
to burn with ever increasing radiance to the close of her 
days. Her natural disposition was marked by traits sin 
gularly noble and generous. She was characteristically 
warm hearted, sincere, affectionate and courageous. A 
person of stronger affections, firmer convictions, more tena 
cious purpose and more uncompromising principle it is not 
easy to imagine. These, sanctified by heavenly grace, 
rendered her 

" A perfect woman nobly planned, 
To warn, to counsel and command. 

"It was not in her nature to hide a conviction or desert 
a friend. Of every relation which she sustained she per 
formed the duties conscientiously and in the fear of God. 
The objects of her mcst fervent affection were her family, 
above all her honored consort, her native State, and that 
church to which she was attached by every tie of nature 
and of grace. Her death was in keeping with her life. 
Her light went out on earth with the setting sun of a 
lovely Sabbath evening, to be relumed in a brighter world 
than ours. Her end was calm, serene, painless ; soft as an 
infant s slumber. 

" We thought her dying when she slept, 
And sleeping when she died. 

"And now that she is gone she has not left behind her 
on this sin-darkened earth a purer spirit or more honored 
memory." 

[Farmer and Mechanic, November gth, 1878.] 

At the Governor s residence in the city of Raleigh, during 
the glorious sunset hour on Sabbath evening, fell asleep in 
painless translation from earth and its sorrows, Mrs. Zebu- 



LIFE OF VANCE. .215 

Ion B. Vance, a lady known and esteemed throughout all 
the State. She was born in Salisbury, July n, 1832, a 
daughter of the late Rev. Thomas Espy, of the Presbyte 
rian church, to which faith she united herself in her six 
teenth year, and adhered until the moment of her death, with 
all the conviction of a courageous and devoted mind. For 
several years she has been in infirm health ; and during the 
past six months her sufferings were great, and hopeless. 
Yet the end came as a surprise to many of her friends ; a 
regret to all. 

On Monday evening, the casket, beautifully decorated 
with floral offerings from friends, was borne to a special 
car Maj. McPheeters, R. H. Battle, Maj. Tucker, Col. 
Polk, Judge Smith, Maj. Bagley, H. A. Gudger and Capt. 
Stamps, acting as pall-bearers. 

Accompanying the Governor and his sons Charles and 
Thomas, were Rev. Dr. Atkinson, Maj. McPheeters, Col. 
Polk, Maj. Tucker, Mr. Gudger, Miss Baird, Miss Lavine 
Haywood, and Misses Placicle and Rosabelle Engelhard. 
Rev. Dr. Miller and Charlotte friends joined the cortege 
at Salisbury, where President Wilson awaited it with a 
special train on his road. 

[Raleigh News, November gth.] 

The party arrived at Asheville at 2:30 p. m., and the 
corpse was immediately taken to the residence of Dr. M. 
L,. Neilson, the brother-in-law of Gov. Vance, where a large 
number of sympathizing friends and relations were soon 
assembled. The funeral services were appointed for Wed 
nesday morning at n o clock. The Methodist church, 
which is the largest in the place, was kindly tendered for 
the funeral services and accepted by the family. The pall 
bearers were : Col. A. T. Davidson, Mr. Albert T. Summey, 
Mr. James P. Sawyer and Mr. E. M. Clayton, of Asheville, 
Col. L. L. Polk, H. A. Gudger, Maj. R. S. Tucker and A. 
M. McPheeters, of Raleigh, who accompanied and had in 
charge the remains from Raleigh. 



2l6 UFE OF VANCE. 

The Federal Court, Judge Dick, and the Superior Court, 
Judge A very, were both in session, but adjourned to at 
tend the funeral. All the stores and places of business 
were closed during the services. A very large congrega 
tion assembled and both the church and the yard were 
densely packed. The services were opened with prayer by 
Rev. Dr. J. M. Atkinson, who was the pastor of Mrs. 
Vance at Raleigh. Rev. Dr. A. W. Miller then announced 
as the hymn to be sung, which was selected for the occa 
sion by Mrs. Vance, 

" I would not live alway." 

He then announced as his text the I5th verse of the ijth 
Psalm: "As for me I will behold thy face in righteousness : 
I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." A 
more powerful, beautiful and eloquent sermon has seldom, 
if ever, been delivered in the State. It would be in vain 
to attempt to give any just report of the tender pathos and 
surpassing beauty of this most able and powerful presenta 
tion of the Christian s hope founded on the truths of the 
Gospel, as compared with the groundless hope of those who 
reject the Savior and of the infidel. 

After the sermon the remains were taken to the ceme 
tery of the Presbyterian church, where they were deposited 
in a grave adjoining that of a son who died many years 
ago. Thus was laid in this mountain cemetery all that re 
mains of one so ripe to enter on that rest that remaineth 
for good people, and one who was so loved and admired by 
those who knew her best. 

On the beautiful casket was a large silver plate bearing 
the inscription : 

HARRIETTE ESPY VANCE. 

Born July nth, 1832. 
Died November 3d, 1878. 

Governor Vance, his three sons, and the party of friends 
accompanying him, returned to the city yesterday. 




MRS. HARRIETT ESPY VANCE. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 217 

[From the North Carolina Presbyterian.] 

Her character was marked by many of the traits con 
spicuous in her father. The same simple unwavering faith, 
the same single-minded adherence to truth, the same un 
compromising steadfastness of principle. 

These are rare characteristics. They imply high spirit, 
strength and courage. Mrs. Vance had all these. One 
who knew her well says she was never known to abandon 
a principle or to desert a friend. She was a whole-souled 
woman, always true to her colors and afraid of doing wrong. 
In this she was an example to all, and an example besides 
in the true femininity that guarded these strong and steady 
traits. She moved in our high places quietly as became a 
Southern lady, and with the humility and unworldly mind 
of a true Christian. In her home she was queen most 
loyal wife and tenderest mother ; in her Church she was as 
a polished corner-stone. But she sought no popularity ; 
she shrank from publicity. Yet her influence was con 
trolling and they who were freest to deplore what they 
called her " over strictness " being the very people who 
most needed such an example of conscientious performance 
of duty, were often foremost in their desire to serve her and 
gain her esteem. 

We shall miss our Governor s noble wife. Her walk 
was along that strait and narrow way which leads upward, 
and as she went her eyes were fixed on things above. We 
need such women in our high places, to point our young 
girls, to add salt to society, and to keep up the old tradi 
tions of wifely duty and constancy of devotion, of motherly 
love and patience, and of abounding faith and charity. 
Church and State will both mourn her and sympathize 
with those whose loss in her is irreparable. For herself, 
we need shed no tears. She, 

"When the bridegroom, with his feastful friends, 

Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night, 

Hath gained her entrance." C. P. S. 



2l8 LIFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

AS UNITED STATES SENATOR. 

His Several Elections His failure to Get His Seat Defeat in 1872 by 
a Combine, Though the Party Nominee At Last Admitted His 
Second Marriage His Laborious Efforts in Committee and in 
Debate Surpasses Expectation by His Studious Habits and 
Dignified Discussions, Yet Lively and Jocose Frequently Stirred 
Up the Senate Always Had Attention from Members and Packed 
Galleries Was Hero of the Cloak Rooms and the Favorite Every 
where Anecdotes Told Three Characteristic Speeches The 
Solidity of the South and Its Causes The Negro Question His 
Last and Perhaps Greatest Effort The Free Coinage of Silver 
Last Appearance in Charlotte Great Demonstration. 

ANCE was elected to the United States Senate in 
1870 by the first Democratic Legislature assembled 
after the war, but not having been "pardoned" for the dis 
abilities imposed by the fourteenth amendment to the 
constitution of the United States, was refused admission, 
and after fruitless efforts to have his disabilities removed, 
he resigned. 

He was the nominee of his party for the same office in 
1872, his disabilities in the meantime having been re 
moved, but was defeated by a union of the Republicans 
and some bolting Democrats. He was again nominated, 
and was elected in January, 1879, an( ^ to ^ n ^ s seat ^ arcn 
1 8th of that year, and by successive elections, viz: in 1885 
and 1891, held the position till the time of his death. 

In 1880 he was married to Mrs. Florence Steele Martin, 
of Kentucky, a lady of wealth, attractive presence and 
manners, and high intellectual and social qualities. She 
survives her distinguished husband, and, with her only 
child, a son by her first marriage, Mr. J. Harry Martin, 
and his family, occupies in winter the Washington home 



LIFE OF VANCE. 2 19 

and in summer Gombroon. This latter place is an ideal re 
treat in the mountains of North Carolina, eight miles 
north of Black Mountain Station, on the \Vjestern North 
Carolina Railroad. The house is of modern architecture, 
is surrounded by a dense forest and lofty peaks, and with 
vineyards, orchards, gardens, out houses, spring house, 
dairy, etc., such as render it a charming and most pictur 
esque summer home. * The location was selected and the 
improvements erected by Senator and Mrs. Vance. 

Vance s career in the Senate was altogether different 
from what was expected. It was felt and predicted that 
his reputation would not be enhanced by his senatoral life. 
His disposition was so sportive and his speeches so full of fun 
and merriment it was anticipated that either he would call 
down severe criticisms for his levity in that august body, or 
else that by trying to conform to its gravity and decorum, 
the vivacity and charm would disappear from his speeches 
and they would become commonplace. But such was not 
the case. He became at once a profound student of the 
great questions of the day. A tireless worker in commit 
tees, he found time also to keep close up with the current 
business of the Senate, to participate in its running debates 
and at times to prepare and deliver speeches that were 
admitted on all sides to take rank among the ablest, most 
logical and statesmanlike of the speeches delivered in that 
body during his time. And while these speeches were 
erudite, thoroughly prepared, scholarly, and methodical in 
arrangment, they were not grave to prosinessor monotony. 
They sparkled from beginning to end with enlivening 
thrusts, witty remarks and mirth-provoking anecdotes and 
kept that sleepy old body well awake and on the alert for 
striking home-hits and humorous illustrations. 

He was indeed a great worker. Aside from his arduous 
and unremitting labors in committee and on the floor of the 
Senate, he found time to respond to requests for addresses 
in all parts of the country, on all possible subjects. He 



220 IJFE OF VANCE. 

delivered lectures in the big halls in New York, Boston, 
New Orleans, Baltimore and other cities, on the tariff, the 
war between the States and other topics, and in Washing 
ton to graduating classes of law students, while all over the 
country he spoke at University and college commencements, 
to boards of trade, to agricultural colleges and fairs, historical 
societies, etc. Many people thought, some may still think, 
he was not a student or hard worker, but if all his speeches 
and lectures could be published, the world would readily 
accord him the right to exclaim with Horace, "Exegimon- 
umentum perennius cere. " Instead of losing cast, his repu 
tation grew from the time he entered the Senate till the 
day of his death. He took rank from the start among the 
ablest and best informed members of that great body and 
in his encounters with Blaine and other able opponents, he 
suffered nothing in respect to his abilities or his knowledge. 
And yet he was so amiable and gentle and genial that not 
withstanding the hard blows dealt in debate, he was the 
hero of the cloak room and the charm of the social circle. 
The eulogies published show in what estimation he was 
held by the strongest of his Republican colleagues; while the 
kindness of personal feelings with which he was esteemed 
by the entire Senate is further exemplified by the fact that 
when he had suffered the loss of an eye, the Senate voted him, 
on motion of Senator J. P. Jones, one of the most stalwart of 
his political opponents, a private secretary, to be paid out 
of its contingent funds. 

Although naturally as gentle and lovable as a woman, 
yet when thoroughly aroused he was a "good hater" and a 
hard fighter. It was his good or ill fortune to differ with 
President Cleveland in some matters of prime importance. 
Whether fully justifiable or not he suspected that the Presi 
dent was using patronage to reward those who adopted his 
views as against others who felt it their duty to oppose 
him. Vance was no bootlick. He had no element of 
subserviency in his make up. His hatred of all manner 



LIFE OF VANCE. 221 

of injustice, including official influence and favoritism, 
was so strong that he would die in his tracks before he 
would surrender, and so erect and sturdy was his manhood 
that he would even prefer to persist in a doubtful course 
rather than seem to yield to the blandishments of power and 
patronage. In his own terse language, "men will not be 
bullied even into doing right." 

His fertile imagination and retentive memory nearly 
always supplied an apt illustration of his feelings and senti 
ments. 

Shortly after Cleveland s first inauguration Vance met a 
fellow Senator who had been to see the President in refer 
ence to some matter of patronage in his State and who 
complained of the treatment he had received at the White 
House, saying the President was indifferent, if not disre 
spectful. " Oh," said Vance, "you need not complain of 
that, it is his way. He treats me so, he treats everybody 
so. I went to see him a few days ago and he treated me 
so indifferently that I was reminded of a case I had in court 
up in Buncombe county soon after I began to practice law. 
An old man had died leaving a small estate, mostly of land 
in the mountains, and his two sons, Bill and Jim, the only 
heirs, employed me to settle up the estate, pay off the debts 
and divide the balance of the money between them. The 
land had been sold under an order of court, but the credit 
ors were making some disturbance, and for one cause and 
another the final hearing and decree had been postponed 
for several terms. The boys grew very impatient, but 
I assured them I was confident the case would be finally 
disposed of at the ensuing term. Court came, the boys 
were in the court house in high expectation. The case was 
called and after considerable wrangling and disputation 
was again continued. At recess the clients were in the 
attorney s office talking the matter over when the elder 
turned to the other and said, Well, Jim, you seen how that 
was done and you know our lawyer was not to blame ; he 



222 LIFE OF VANCE. 

done all he could and I am satisfied. * Well, I am not, 
answered Jim, I seen it all and know our lawyer is not to 
blame, but, Bill, I will tell you what s a fact, there has been 
so much bother about this case, so many disputes, refer 
ences and continuances, I am so disgusted with the whole 
business that durned if I ain t almost sorry the old man 
died. The application of this story to the subject of the 
conversation between the Senators is obvious. 

The following is a specimen of the scenes and sensations 
he produced in the cloak rooms : 

Eminence in church or State had no terrors for Vance s 
humor when once aroused. The late Bishop Lyman, of 
North Carolina, was a man of great dignity and 
graciousness of manner and was always serious. He 
called on Senator Vance in the marble room and re 
quested him to bring with him Senator Edmunds, of 
Vermont, who was general counsel of the House of Bishops, 
and as all the world knows as learned in the ecclesiastical 
as in the civil laws, and a great Episcopalian. After some 
prefatory formalities the Bishop dived at once into the busi 
ness that he wished to consult the great lawyer about; this 
concluded they unbent into personal conversation. Vance 
assured them that he had narrowly escaped being a con 
siderable theologian himself. When I was a lad in those 
great mountains that laugh at the Vermont hills and that 
our good Bishop has shown his appreciation of by building 
him a home in, I was blessed with a good aunt who sent me 
to a most excellent Calvanist school, and delighted in 
devoting the savings of her needle in making a Presbyterian 
preacher of me. I submitted to it for a year or more and 
made some progress in learning the hard sayings, if not in 
amazing grace, until my conscience rebelled and in my 
next visit to her I frankly confessed that I could not go on 
in the path of her choosing. I cannot bear even now to 
think of the grief that she showed at my determination, 
and, of course, she must have a reason for it. I tried to 



LIFE OF VANCE. 223 

explain to her that one good reason was as good as a thou 
sand and that everything was embraced in the simple 
reason that I did not feel myself good enough to be a Pres 
byterian minister. She wrestled with me in spirit and 
refused to let me depart until she had got a promise of some 
sort out of me. Finding me quite settled in my decision, 
she reluctantly gave up her dream then a bright hope 
seemed to come to her, and caressing my hand she said in 
an eager way, " Zeb, don t you think you are good enough 
to prepare to be an Episcopal preacher." 

After the Bishop and the lawyer had recovered from the 
shock, they laughed as only men can who are unused to it 
and who are taken unawares by a return of their youthful 
feelings ; and the great- lawyer makes a story of it now and 
then that would cause the average raconteur to turn green 
with envy. 

Vance s versatility was among his most wonderful ac 
complishments. While he was the recognized leader of his 
party after Senator Beck s death, on all questions of tariff 
and finance,, he yet displayed extraordinary knowledge of 
general legislative topic, and was ever ready to take part in 
debates, especially where the conduct and motives of the 
South and the Southern people were involved. He was 
always interesting, and generally stirred his opponents in 
lively fashion, while pleasing and delighting his friends, 
and he was the especial favorite of the galleries, which never 
failed to be packed when it was known he was to speak. 

The following is a specimen of the scenes and merriment 
he often created : 

Senator Vance set colleagues and spectators in a roar by reading in 
splendid style the following pastoral, which he said was entitled, 
"The Girl with one Stocking; a protective pastoral composed and 
arranged for the spinning wheel, and respectfully dedicated to that 
devoted friend of protected machinery and high taxes, the Senator 
from Rhode Island, Mr. Aldrich." 



224 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Our Mary had a little lamb, 

Her heart was most intent 
To make its wool beyond its worth, 

Bring 56 per cent. 

A pauper girl across the sea 

Had one small lamb also, 
Whose wool for less than half that sum 

She d willingly let go. 

Another girl who had no sheep, 

No stockings wool nor flax 
But money enough just for to buy 

A pair without the tax, 

Went to the pauper girl to get 

Some wool to shield her feet, 
And make her stockings, not of flax, 

But out of wool complete. 

When Mary saw the girl s design 

She straight began to swear 
She d make her buy both wool and tax 

Or let one leg go bare. 

And so she cried : "Protect, Reform ! 

Let pauper wool in free ! 
If it will keep her legs both warm 

What will encourage me ? " 

So it was done, and people said 

Where er that poor girl went, 
One leg was warm with wool and one 

With 56 per cent. 

Now praise to Mary and her lamb, 

Who did the scheme invent, 
To clothe one-half a girl in wool 

And one-half in per cent. 

All honor, too, to Mary s friend, 

And all protective acts, 
That clothe the rich in real wool 

And wrap the poor in tax. 

The reading of this piece of doggerel was received with shouts of 
laughter, even Republican Senators leaning back in their seats and 
giving unrestrained way to their mirth. 

As for the people in the galleries they screamed and yelled frantic 
ally, and when Senator Vance sat down they kept up their uproarous 
applause until the North Carolina orator gravely inclined his head in 
acknowledgment. Washington Correspondence Chicago Herald. 



LIFK OF VANCE. 225 

"When the McKinley bill was pending," says Hon. 
F. A. Woodard in his eulogy, " Senator Vance, as a mem 
ber of the Finance Committee, was the recognized leader of 
his party and the burden of the debate of that bill fell 
largely upon him. The student of the difficult and com 
plex question of tariff can find in the literature of that sub 
ject no more valuable material for its mastery than the 
speeches of Senator Vance, and upon most of the important 
questions coming before that body, he spoke, and always 
with singular force and ability." And Senator Gray, of 
Delaware, in his eulogistic remarks, said: "His equipment 
as an orator was strong and unique. There are few of us 
who cannot recall the delight occasioned by his display of 
wit, and how story, epigram and apt illustration lighted up 
many a tedious discussion, his clearness of mental vision 
making many a crooked path straight. No debate was 
ever dull in which he was engaged and no one cared to 
leave this chamber when Vance was on the floor. " 

Among his earliest speeches in the Senate was the fol 
lowing most characteristic one, portraying the political 
affairs in the South, with the inevitable causes of its solidity 
in opposition to the Republican administration : 

The Senate having under consideration the bill (H. R. No. 2) 
making appropriations for the legislative, executive, and judicial ex 
penses of the Government for the fiscal year endingjune 30, 1880, and 
for other purposes, Mr. Vance said : 

MR. PRESIDENT It seems to be the peculiar misfortune of the 
section from which I come, and I believe it to be also the misfortune 
of the whole country, that no question in any way pertaining to the 
South or originating with any representative from the South has been 
able to obtain a fair hearing in these halls upon its merits. Indeed it 
would seem as if the day for that kind of discussion had passed away 
forever. I had been taught to believe that the object of all discussion 
was to elicit truth, and not only was it useless but such discussion was 
mischievous if that was not the object to be attained. If this indeed 
be so, I might appeal with confidence to every fair-minded man in the 
United States who hears or reads our debates here and ask if the dis 
cussion of the questions now before the Senate has been fairly or 
logically handled with the view to ascertain the truth. It is proposed : 

16 



226 LIFE OF VANCE. 

First. By the legislation which is now in part before us and which 
has been, to repeal the laws under which authority is assumed to in 
terfere with the elections of the country by the use of the military. 

Second. To repeal the laws by which the United States marshals 
and supervisors were authorized to control the elections of the country. 

Third. To repeal the law requiring jurors in the Federal Courts 
to take the test oath. 

Now, these are the questions, plain and simple, which have en 
gaged the attention of the American Congress and the people for the 
last three months. Common sense and a decent regard for the 
public interest require that they should receive at our hands the 
calmest and most dispassionate consideration which it is in our power 
to bestow upon them ; that they should be abstracted and dissoci ated 
from every local passion or prejudice and viewed solely with regard 
to their effect upon the public welfare. Has this been done ? The 
record of our proceedings is evidence that it has not. The staple of 
the arguments in opposition has been as wide of this object as it is 
possible for human imagination to conceive. One Senator, as his 
argument, cries out rebellion ; another cries out secession ; another 
exclaims, with alarm, that rebel soldiers are here in these halls ; an 
other claims that the North pays the larger part of the direct taxes, 
and nearly all of the taxes collected on imports ; another sees a goblin 
in the shape of a Democratic caucus ; another holds up his hands in 
holy horror in contemplating the fact that there is absolutely a Demo 
cratic majority in both branches of Congress ; and yet another sees 
ruin in a solid South ; and last, but not least, one Senator exclaims in 
the famine of argument, "Jefferson Davis ;" and that is the contribu 
tion that he furnishes to the literature of the country. 

These various and logical appeals have not even the merit that 
the old negro groom attributed to John Minor Bott s race-horses ; for 
when taunted with the fact that his horses could not beat anything, 
he congratulated himself that at all events they could beat each other ! 
These apologies for arguments cannot even beat each other in ab 
surdity. An honest judge will be compelled to decide that the race is 
a drawn one and all bets are off. 

If our proceedings, Mr. President, were in the nature of a com 
plaint and answer there is not a court in the land but would be 
compelled to order that the answers put in here by the Republican 
defendants to these bills be stricken out as frivolous, and that a judg 
ment be rendered in favor of the plaintiffs. I will not recapitulate the 
arguments in favor of these bills. They are before the country and 
will be properly judged of in due season. I desire only to make a 
few observations in reply to these sectional appeals. 

Mr. President, who made the South solid ? The answer is as plain 
and unmistakable as it is possible to make anything to the human in 
tellect : the Republican party is responsible for this thing. At the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 227 

beginning of the late war almost the entire Whig party of the South, 
with a large and influential portion of the Democratic, were in favor 
of the Union and depreciated with their whole souls the attempt at its 
destruction, but through love of their native States and sympathy 
with their kindred and neighbors they were drawn into the support of 
the war. What became of them after the war ? Their wisdom in op 
posing it was justified by the ruinous results ; their patriotism and 
courage were highly appreciated, and when peace came this class were 
in high favor at the South, while the secessionists as the original advo 
cates of a disastrous policy were down in public estimation. 

If you gentlemen of the North had then come forward with liberal 
terms and taken these men by the hand, you would have established 
a party in the South that would have perpetuated your power in this 
Government for a generation, provided you had listened to the views 
of those men, and respected their policy on questions touching their 
section. But you pursued the very opposite course, a course which 
compelled almost every decent, intelligent man of Anglo-Saxon pre 
judices and traditions to take a firm and determined stand against you ; 
a course which consolidated all shades of political opinion into one 
resolute mass to defend what they conceived to be their ancient forms 
of government, laws, liberties, and civilization itself. By confiscation 
and the destruction of war, you had already stripped us of property to 
the extent of at least $3,000,000,000, and left our land desolate, rent, 
and torn, our homes consumed with fire, and our pleasant places a 
wasted wilderness. 

Peace then came no, not peace, but the end of war came no, not 
the end of war, but the end of legitimate, civilized war, and for three 
years you dallied with us. One day we were treated as though we 
were in the Union, and as though w r e had legitimate State govern 
ments in operation ; another day we were treated as though we were 
out of the Union, and our State governments were rebellious usurpa 
tions. It was the regular game of "Now you see it and now you 
don t." We were in the Union for all purposes of oppression ; we 
were out of it for all purposes of protection. Finally, seeing that we 
still remained Democratic, the Union was dissolved by act of Congress 
and we were formally legislated outside in order that you might bring 
us into the Union again in such a way as to guarantee us a Republican 
form of government that is, that we should vote the Republican 
ticket ; and you cited article IV, section 4, of the Constitution as your 
authority to do this. You deposed our State governments and ejected 
from office every official, from Governor to township constable, and 
remitted us to a State of chaos in which the only light of human 
authority for the regulation of human affairs and the control of human 
passions was that which gleamed from the polished point of the 
soldier s bayonet. Under this simple and easily comprehended system 
of jurisprudence so consonant to the great assertion of the great Dec- 



228 LIFE OF VANCE. 

laration, that " governments derive their just powers from the consent 
of the governed," you began and completed the task of guaranteeing 
to us a "Republican" form of government. You disfranchised at 
least ten per cent, of our citizens, embracing the wisest, best and most 
experienced. You enfranchised our slaves, the lowest and most ignor 
ant ; and you placed over them as leaders a class of men who have 
attained to the highest positions of infamy known to modern ages. 

In order to preserve the semblance of consent, conventions were 
called to form new constitutions, the delegates to which were chosen 
by this new and unheard-of constituency. The military counted the 
votes, often at the headquarters in distant States, the general in com 
mand determining the election and qualifications of the delegates. 
Many of these delegates were negroes, on whom the-right to vote and 
hold office had not yet been bestowed. They framed constitutions in 
which they gave themselves this right, and it was submitted for ratifi 
cation to the same constituency who chose the delegates, and none 
other that is to say, they propounded the question whether they 
should vote and hold office ;to themselves, and decided this question 
by their own votes, while white men were not permitted to vote. Per 
haps the annals of the race from which we spring, with all its various 
branches spread throughout the world, cannot furnish such a parody 
upon the principles of free government based upon the consent of the 
governed. 

These constitutions were declared adopted by the general in com 
mand. Perhaps they were adopted. And at the same election, so 
called, were also chosen State officers for a long term of years, and 
chosen by the same constituency. The new governments went to 
work, and in the short space of four years they plundered those eleven 
Southern States to the extent of $262,000,000 ; that is to say, they took 
all that we had that was amenable to larceny, and they would have 
taken more, doubtless, but for the same reason that the weather could 
not get any colder in Minnesota, as described by a returned emigrant 
from that State, " because the thermometer was too short." [Laugh 
ter.] And now recalling these facts and a hundred more which I 
cannot now name, can any candid man wonder that we became solid ? 
Can he wonder that old Whigs and Democrats, Union men and seces 
sionists, r should unite in a desperate effort to throw off the dominion 
of a party which had inflicted these things upon them ? And your 
military interference, your abuse, and your denunciation continue 
unto this day. 

Can you wonder that your following in that country has dwindled 
into insignificance ? The negro alone is your friend there and a very 
few whites, and his eyes, blinded as they have been, are steadily open 
ing to the great truth which you ought to have taught him, that his 
prosperity and welfare are inseparably connected with that of his 
white neighbors. One by one the northern adventurers who led them 



LIFE OF VANCE. 229 

have packed their carpet-bags and silently stolen back to the slums of 
northern society whence they originated, and the lonely native Repub 
lican makes his solitary lair in some custom-house or post-office or 
revenue headquarters. The broad, free, bright world outside of these 
retreats in all the South is Democratic, thanks to you, the Republican 
party of the North. It would be well enough for Republican leaders 
to remember that the inflexible law of compensation exists in politics 
as well as in all things else. If we violate the laws of health we suffer 
bodily pains or early dissolution ; if we violate the laws of society we 
suffer in public esteem ; if we violate the laws of man we are subject 
to its pains and penalties ; if we violate the laws of God, we will suffer 
the penalties of sin ; if we violate the laws of nature we can reap none 
of the benefits which our knowledge of them now enables us to derive 
therefrom. So it is in politics. You outraged all of our sensibilities 
in your treatment of us, and we naturally became your political ene 
mies. There is no impunity for transgression. 

You now affect to treat the presence of representative Southern 
men in these Halls as both an intrusion and a calamity, and the tone 
of your speeches will induce an intelligent stranger sitting in these 
galleries for the last three months to believe that you were sorry you 
had spent so much blood and treasure to force the South back into the 
Union. Is this really true ? Do you regret that the proper sentiment 
of society in the South is represented here ? And rather than this 
should be, would you prefer that the South had staid where she tried 
to go ? I hope not. For the sake of your patriotism I hope not. Had 
you rather that the Union had been lost than that you should lose 
power ? Was it the Union you fought for or was it political suprem 
acy ? Notwithstanding the wild blasts of alarm which you are sound 
ing throughout the length and breadth of this vast country, you well 
know that the only danger which our presence here indicates is the 
danger of your being ousted from our political power. In what way can 
the Democracy injure this country ? What motive have we to injure 
it ? Having surrendered the doctrine of secession and abandoned any 
intention whatsoever to divide this Union, how could we expect that 
the Democracy to which we belong could obtain and hold the control 
of the Government except by showing the people by our acts that we 
are patriotically desirous of promoting its welfare and its glory. But 
you say you distrust these expressions. My friends, in your hearts you 
do not. On the contrary, a man who has offered his blood once for his 
plighted faith you believe when he plights his faith again. There is 
not a Southern rebel, no matter how bitter and rampant he may have 
been, that you have not received with arms wide spread and rewarded 
with offices of honor and trust, who came to you with craven repent 
ance on his tongue, ready to vote the Republican ticket and eating dirt 
with the same gluttonous appetite with which he once ate fire. You 
profess to believe him, but you despise him in your hearts. You are 



230 LIFE OF VANCE. 

not alarmed to receive him and you cast no suspicion upon his pro 
fessions of sincerity, though, as has more than once happened, he asks 
you to believe he tells the truth to-day because he told a lie yesterday. 

Mr. President, it has seemed to me not a little hard and inhospi 
table that Southern Senators whose States were forced back into the 
Union should be so often twitted with their presence on this floor. 
We are here in obedience to the Constitution and the Union, and, if I 
recollect aright, some of the Senators on this floor came to the South 
to invite us back into these Halls; and I have a distinct recollection 
that the Senator from Illinois [Mr. Logan] and the Senator from Rhode 
Island [Mr Burnside] came all the way down to North Carolina to 
invite that State to send Senators here, and they came attended with 
such a numerous retinue, and were so urgent in their solicitation, that 
I, for one, found it impossible to resist so weighty an invitation. 
[Laughter.] 

Mr. Logan When I got here I did not find you. [Laughter.] 

Mr. Vance But I came as soon as I could. [Laughter.] The 
honorable Senator found me, and he would not open the door for me 
after he had invited me. [Laughter.] 

Now that we are here, the Senator from Illinois complains of our 
presence, and the Senator from New York accuses us of wishing to 
"dominate" at the feast to which we have been invited, and says that 
we are like McGregor, who claimed that the head of the table was 
wherever he sat. For one, I disclaim all desire to dominate at the 
feast, unless, indeed, voting for Democratic measures be domination. 
I do desire, however, to be equally honored with the other guests; and 
I desire, in vindication also of the good name and rude hospitality of 
McGregor, to say that, in my opinion, he would have been the last man 
in all Scotland, riever and cattle-lifter as he was, to invite a man into 
his house arrd up to his board, and then denounce him for being there. 

Mr. President, would there be any real danger to the best interests 
of this country if it were again under the complete control of the 
Democratic party ? Surely not. It is history that this country owes its 
chief glory and development in the past to that grand historic party. 
But for its sagacity and patriotism, it is safe to say that we would still 
be a feeble and inconsiderable people. The Democratic party have ex 
tended the boundaries of this Republic from the Mississippi to the 
Pacific Ocean. Its policy acquired the territory of Louisiana, which 
extended from the Gulf of Mexico up the Father of Waters to the 
British Dominion, embracing Iowa, Minnesota, Dakota, Kansas, and all 
that vast region west to the Rocky Mountains. It acquired Florida, 
Texas, New Mexico, California, including their grand extent of country, 
plains, rivers, and mountains, with all their wealth of gold and silver 
and precious metals, embracing more than a million of square miles. 
As I now remember, not a single foot of land has been added to the 
empire by the Republican party, except Alaska a broad stretch of icy 



LIFE OF VANCE. 231 

waste, a land where frozen earth contends with frozen water, inhabited 
by seals and savages, in a climate which I have heard described as nine 
months of winter and three months of damnation cold weather. 
[Laughter.] 

In addition to this territorial wealth and power which Democracy 
has given to the Republic, its great lawyers and magnificent statesmen 
have in all generations of our existence been the special champions and 
expounders of the Constitution the bond of our Union and the very 
ark of the covenant of our liberties. They have striven to have its 
principles understood, its provisions maintained in their purity, and its 
blessings extended to all; and great as their services have been in en 
larging our boundaries, spreading our commerce, and elevating our 
diplomacy abroad, their services to our people and to mankind in the 
exaltation of constitutional principles more entitle them to the confi 
dence of American citizens than all things put together. In addition 
to their services in maintaining the Constitution they have in 
the main been the chief promoters of public economy and the enemies 
of corruption. Under Democratic rule there has been in this country no 
Credit Mobilier, there has been no Black Friday, no Sanborn contracts, 
no robbery of freedmen s savings banks, no Belknap, no returning 
boards and no electoral commission; no military interference at the 
polls, no test oath for jurors in the United States courts, no Federal 
spies and overseers when the people were choosing their rulers. And 
now that we are seeking to restore this state of things and to bring back 
the government to the paths in which our fathers trod, the attempt 
is denounced as revolutionary and the trumpet is blown to warn the 
country that the end of all things is about to come, when, as we trust, 
nothing is about to come to an end except the domination of the 
Republican party. 

Coming briefly to the real questions, I ask why should the law 
authorizing the military to be used at the polls not be repealed and 
why should the law authorizing Federal supervision also be not 
repealed ? I take it to be indisputably established without further 
argument, that the whole subject relating to the elective franchise 
is placed by the Constitution under the control of the States, and all 
that the Federal government can do is to see that the States, as such, 
do not discriminate against any on account of race, color or previous 
condition of servitude. This is the whole duty and power of Congress 
as declared by the Supreme Court. When any Republican Senator 
has ventured for one moment to abandon the line of inflammatory 
appeal to the sectional feeling of the country, the excuses given for 
the retention of this law upon the statute book are illogical almost to 
puerility. 

The Senator from Maine, [Mr. Elaine] gravely urges that it should 
not be repealed because the great bulk of the army is in the distant 
West, only some few hundreds being east of the Rocky Mountains. 



232 LIFE OF VANCE. 

He tells us in the course of his enumeration that there are only about 
thirty in the State of North Carolina, and asks the Senators from that 
State if they are afraid of that number of soldiers ? Passing over the 
obvious fact that within thirty days ten thousand could be sent there 
if desired, I answer that we do fear them, because they represent the 
power of the United States government and the enmity of the Repub 
lican party which wields that power ; we fear them as the Hollanders 
fears the first small leak in the dikes which bear back the waves of the 
ocean from deluging the meadows of his homestead ; we fear them as 
the physician fears the first speck of gangrene in the system of his 
patient ; we fear them as the sailor fears the piling up of the storm 
clouds upon the horizon, knowing that their deceptive beauty covers the 
fierce desolation of the tempest ; we fear them as the shepherd of the 
mountain fears his lambs at even the flitting of a shadow athwart his 
path, for he knows it to be the shadow of the eagle, the remorseless 
tryant of the air ; we fear them as Charlemagne feared the rude 
wooden ships of the Norse Vikings on their first appearance in the 
seas of his empire ; we fear them as all patriotic Romans feared the 
crossing of the Rubicon by Caesar, the passage of which with arms 
in his hand marked him as the enemy of Roman liberty. 

Even so we fear and believe, that when an American Executive 
crosses the Rubicon of his constitutional powers and appears at the 
place of choosing our rulers, armed either with the sword or with 
illegal powers of arrest, he thereby proclaims himself the enemy of 
the liberties of our people. A flagrant illustration of the justice of 
this fear is to be found in the various orders of the War Department 
directing the concentration of troops in the States of South Carolina 
Florida and Louisiana on the occasion of the election of 1876. The 
excuse that these soldiers were not intended to interfere with elections 
or to be placed at the polls, but only to be sufficiently near to keep the 
peace, is not sustained by the facts of that reign of military violence, 
nor will it be if tried again. I quote from an order dated headquarters 
Department of the South, Columbia, South Carolina, October 8, 1876, 
issued by General Ruger : 

" Should the barracks or camp in any case be so far from the place 
of voting that prompt assistance could not on occasion arising be ren 
dered the civil officers, the commanding officer will so place his 
command or a sufficient part thereof that such assistance, if required, 
may be promptly given. No troops, however, will be placed actually 
at any poll of election except upon requirement to that effect by the 
marshal or his deputy." 

So it seems that the discretion as to whether the law should be 
violated or not, was vested in a deputy marshal ! In fact, they were 
so illegally disposed and used in a hundred instances. The President, 
as appears by the order of General Townsend to General Emory, dated 
October 27, 1874, seemed anxious to have the troops placed at the polls 



LIFE OF VANCE. 233 

without the appearance of doing so. In that order he propounds a 
physical problem or conundrum to General Emory which that officer 
had to give up. He says : 

" Cannot points be selected near polls where attempts to overawe 
voters, likely to result in riots, may be made, and troops stationed 
there a day or two beforehand ? It w r ould not be desirable to have 
soldiers at or too near the polls as all appearance of military inter 
ference, except to secure voters their right to vote, should be avoided." 

Not to " keep the peace," mind you, but to secure voters their 
right to vote ! Now, this was a hard problem : to place troops so far 
from the polls as to avoid all appearance of interference with the elec 
tions, and yet so near as to actually interfere by securing all men in 
their right to vote ! Quod est demonstrandum. It was too much for 
General Emory in fact, it was too much for common sense and com 
mon honesty. All these orders show a palpable and shameless 
determination on the part of the Executive to control both the elec 
tions and the counting of the votes of presidential electors, as well as 
the organization of State governments. The manner in which the 
troops were shifted about from one to the other of these three States, 
on which the presidential election depended, exhibits the animus of 
this infamous transaction in a manner so plain that the wayfaring 
man, though a Republican, need not err therein. 

But the President tells us in his veto message that there has been 
no interference during his administration, and promises that there 
shall be none. So we are to take his royal promise to respect the peo 
ple s liberties, and not to have them secured by law ? Here is the 
promise of one President of the United States, and one who stands 
exceedingly high in Republican estimation, dated November 10, 1876, 
to General \V. T. Sherman, Washington, District of Columbia : 

" Instruct General Auger, in Louisiana, and General Ruger, in 
Florida, to be vigilant with the force at their command to preserve 
peace and good order, and to see that the proper and legal board of 
canvassers are unmolested in the performance of their duties. Should 
there be any grounds of suspicion of fraudulent counting on either 
side it should be reported and denounced at once. No man worthy of 
the office of President would be willing to hold the office if counted 
in, placed there by fraud. Either party can afford to be disappointed 
in the result, but the country cannot afford to have the result tainted 
by the suspicion of illegal or false returns. U. S. GRANT." 

On the same day the following telegram is also forwarded to Gen 
eral Sherman : 

"The President thinks, and I agree with him, that it will be well 
for you to give to the Associated Press his telegram and mine to you, 
referring to affairs now in the South. J. D. CAMERON, 

" Secretary of War." 

Of the vast, open-jawed, cavernous-bellied nature of this promise 



234 LIF E OF VANCE. 

I have not the heart or the time to discourse. I shall content myself 
with imitating the discretion of Mr. Rodman, who, returning home 
one night full of tax-paid, and fearing that his speech would betray 
him, to the many questions of his wife for a long while maintained an 
obstinate silence, until at length to end the matter he solemnly re 
marked: " Mrs. Rodman, you know I am a man of few words, and now 
I am plumb done talking. " That subject immediately became res 
adjudicata. I am done talking on this subject so well calculated to 
make an American citizen blush. 

The arguments made by the opponents of these bills, especially 
those of the veto messages, strike me with a good deal of amazement. 
To illustrate their absurdity let us frame them into the semblance of 
mathematical propositions, thus : 

Proposition first : Theorem. The troops of the United States are 
two thousand miles away on the frontier and could not be used to con 
trol elections if they were wanted. Senator from Maine. 

The troops could not be so used if they were here, as the law for 
bids it. I promise not to use them. The President. 

Hence it is revolutionary and dangerous to liberty and the purity 
of elections to pass this bill forbidding such use of troops. Q. B. D. 

Corollary first. The necessity for troops at the polls to secure 
fair elections is in proportion to the squares of the distance of their 
present location, i. e., the greater the distance, the greater the 
necessity. 

Corollary second. The necessity for the presence of troops at the 
polls is also in proportion to the legal inability to use them if they 
were present, and if the President is determined not to use them at all 
to control elections, then the necessity becomes absolute. 

Corollary third. The revolutionary and dangerous character of a 
law consists in the fact that it is useless, there being already in ex 
istence laws sufficient to effect the purpose. 

Scholium. In the above it is assumed axiomatically that the terms 
"liberty" and "purity of elections" are synonymous with the term 
" Republican party. " [Prolonged laughter.] 

Proposition second : Theorem. The right of citizens of the United 
States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or 
by any State on account of race, color or previous conditions of ser 
vitude. 

Sec. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by 
appropriate legislation. The fifteenth amendment quoted by the Pres 
ident. 

The Supreme Court in the United States against Cruikshank, and in 
Meyers vs. Happersett, have declared that the only right guaranteed 
by this amendment is the right that citizens shall not be discriminated 
against on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 
Hence " national legislation to provide safeguards for free and honest 



LIFE OF VANCE. 235 

elections is necessary, as experience has shown, not only to secure the 
right to vote to the enfranchised race at the South, but also to prevent 
fraudulent voting in the large cities of the North." The President. 

Corollary first. It follows that if John Smith gets drunk at an 
election in North Carolina and punches a negro s head he immediately, 
by presidential logic, becomes the State of North Carolina embodied 
in the flesh, and he, or it, discriminates against the said negro within 
the meaning of the Constitution and the guarantee is called for at 
once. 

Corollary second. If it be a white man whose head is punched by 
the embodied State-of-John-Smith-North-Carolina it is a discrimina 
tion all the same, provided the said white man was about to vote or 
had voted the Republican ticket, that being the true meaning and inter 
pretation of the words "race, color, and previous condition of 
servitude." 

Corollary third. It follows necessarily, that if a New York repeater 
vote the Democratic ticket five times in one day, he becomes likewise 
the great State of New York (including the Senator) or, e converse, 
the great State of New York becomes the repeater, and by so voting 
he discriminates (the Lord knows how) against the right of somebody 
(the Lord know r s who) to vote on account of race, color, or previous 
condition of servitude, and the only avenue opened up by which this 
guarantee can be enforced is to send in the Army and Johnny Daven 
port. [Laughter.] 

Scholium. The " previous condition " referred to in the foregoing 
is that of " Republicanism," and implies also present condition ; that 
is being a " Republican." 

Scholium second. Enforcing the right to vote by soldiers is not 
an "interference with elections." 

Scholium third. This doctrine of "discrimination" does not apply 
to the State of Rhode Island, where a white man s right to vote may 
be freely abridged on account of his present condition of impecuniosity . 

Proposition third: Theorem. "The practice of tacking to appro 
priation bills measures not pertinent to such bills did not prevail 
until more than forty years after the adoption of the Constitution. It 
has become a common practice. All parties when in power have 
adopted it. The public welfare will be promoted in many ways by a 
return to the early practice of the Government and the true principles 
of legislation." The President. 

Hence the practice of tacking legislation to appropriation bills hav 
ing been practiced by all parties for more than fifty years, it should be 
immediately abandoned when disagreeable to the President or incon 
venient to the party, its antiquity not being sufficient to justify it, 
though greater than the period of its non-use. 

Corollary first. It follows, therefore, that the practice of using 
troops at the polls, which did not prevail for more than seventy-five 



236 LIFE OF VANCE. 

years after the adoption of the Constitution, should now become of 
general and indispensable use ; fourteen years being amply sufficient 
time to legalize it, and being now absolutely necessary for the preserva 
tion of the Republican party. 

Scholium. For the purposes of the next presidential election 
fourteen years of military interference are equal to seventy-five years of 
free and unrestrained elections, on the well-established principle " that 
circumstances alter cases." (The Lawyer s Bull vs. the Farmer s Ox, 
i Webster s El. Spell.) 

N. B. It is said on high authority that the Secretary of War and 
the Secretary of State once held this problem unsound, but were 
coerced into assenting to it by party necessity. But quien sabe ! 
[Laughter.] 

So much for the absurd deductions which may be logically drawn 
from the premises contained in the veto messages and the arguments 
of Senators. 

NOW T , Mr. President, why should not the peace at the polls and the 
purity of elections be intrusted to the authority, the virtue, and the 
patriotism of the States, where alone our fathers placed it ? Is it be 
cause the States are unable with their civil machinery to preserve the 
peace ? They have invariably proven able in the past except in cases 
of such unusual violence as is contemplated in the Constitution, article 
IV, section 4. Are they unwilling ? Surely they are willing to pre 
serve their autonomy and perpetuate their own existence. Are they 
corrupt ? Surely if their inhabitants as citizens of the States are too 
corrupt for self-government, it is not possible that their virtue should 
be improved and their corruptions cease the moment they are invested 
with authority by the United States. On the contrary there is always 
found less of responsibility and more of corruption in aggregated than 
in separate communities. How can a corrupt State officer become an 
incorruptable Federal officer ? 

To suppose that the States are either unable, unwilling, or too cor 
rupt to hold peaceful and honest elections, is to declare unmistakably 
that the people thereof are incapable of self-government. " Let each 
Senator have written on his brow what he thinks of the Republic," 
said the Senator from New York, quoting the old Roman. So say I. 
Let each Senator say for himself \vhat he thinks of his State : are its 
people incapable of self-government, of choosing their rulers peace 
ably and honestly ? For one, I can say, with unspeakable pride and 
absolute truth, that the people of the State of North Carolina who sent 
me here are able, willing, and virtuous enough to fulfill these and all 
the other high functions of free government ; that they have ever done 
so since the keels of Raleigh s ships first grated upon the white sands 
of her shores ; and God helping them, they and their children will 
continue to do so, if not destroyed by centralization, until chaos shall 



LIFE OF VANCE. 237 

come again. It is with extreme sadness that I hear any other Sena 
tor intimate that it is not so with his people. 

Mr. President, did you ever consider for a moment the manifold 
and extraordinary uses to which we are subjecting the soldiers ? And 
did you ever think that all this means, in fact, the failure of the civil 
authority ; that our liberties are declining more and more as we em 
ploy force ? Sir, in the uses to which we put the soldiers ,1 am 
reminded of what I read about the bamboo in Asiatic countries. It is 
said the natives do almost everything with that wonderful arborescent 
grass. When young and tender it is eaten and preserved ; it is made 
into houses and boats, astronomical instruments, ornamental work, 
yards of vessels, aqueducts, rain-clocks, water-wheels, fence-ropes, 
chairs, tables, hats, and umbrellas, fans, pipes, cups, shields, tool- 
handles, lamp-wicks, paper, knives, and a hundred other things. In 
this way it seems to me that we are forsaking the civil functions of 
our institutions and utilizing the soldier. 

In addition to their legitimate business as defenders of the coun 
try, we have made of them Governors of States, legislators, organizers 
of Legislatures and judges of the election and qualifications of the 
members thereof, judges of law and equity and of the criminal courts, 
policemen, sheriffs, marshals and deputy marshals, revenue officers 
and still house hunters, managers of railroads, controllers of churches 
and of schools, justices of the peace, supervisors of election, mathe 
maticians to see a fair count, protectors of witnesses, foster-fathers of 
returning boards, and above all, as Republican propagandists. In the 
language of the sewing-machine companies, "no family should be with 
out one" [laughter]; this Republican political bamboo. Is there no 
great danger ? Does it not indicate the decay and the disuse of the civil 
arm of the law, which is the natural and only safe protector of our 
liberties ? Let us, sir, discard this miserable bamboo policy and cease 
to make the soldier our political maid of all work. 

Mr. President, it seems to me that the position of the Republican 
party in reference to the use of soldiers and supervisors at the polls, 
on the pretense of preserving the peace and securing free elections, is 
the most remarkable one that reasonable men ever assumed. It may 
be formulated thus : The elections shall be free if we have to surround 
the polls with bayonets; the elections shall be according to the laws of 
the States if we have to overawe the civil magistrates and State officials 
by an exhibition of power ; the elections shall be pure if it takes 
Davenport and all the convicted criminals and occupants of all the 
dens of infamy in our great cities to manage them ; the election shall 
be unforced and without the appearance of violence if a battery of 
artillery has to be trained on every ballot-box in the land ; and lastly, 
the election shall be fair if we have to arrest without warrant and im 
prison without bail, until the elections are over, every man who offers 
to vote^the Democratic ticket. 



238 LIFE OF VANCE. 

The speeches of Republican Senators mean this, the vetoes of the 
President mean this, and they mean more than this, Mr. President ; 
in effect they say that unless we can use the Army at the polls, we will 
let that Army dissolve ; we will leave our forts and arsenals ungarri- 
soned ; we will strip the frontiers of all protection, and let the men, 
women, and children of that border country be slaughtered and scalped 
and the unchecked savage extend his barbarous sway over all that land 
of promise, once more remitted to its ancient wilderness. We will not 
only do this, but we will denounce the Democratic members of Con 
gress who offered us the money to support this Army as the authors 
of this disaster. All these things will we do rather than lose our chances 
to count in the next President, and we will cover the facts and ob 
scure the logic of the case by reinflaming the bitter prejudices of the 
war in the hearts of our constituents ! Can it be possible to do this ? 
Is there to be no end to passion, no restoration of reason ? We shall 
see. 

I confess that I do not believe these absurd methods of dealing 
with the American mind can much longer prevail. I regard them as 
the desperate efforts of a sinking party, and I believe the people will 
so regard them. I have been much touched by the affectionate warn 
ings given us by the other side that we were ruining ourselves in try 
ing to repeal these laws. The kind-hearted Senator from Michigan 
notified us frankly that if we persisted we would go dow r n into the 
waters of oblivion to rise no more forever. He did not even give us a 
chance at the general resurrection. [Laughter.] It seemed to dis 
tress him, and if I thought it was true prophecy, I would freely mingle 
my tears with his at the contemplation of so dire a calamity. Candor 
compels me, however, to acknowledge that I cannot reciprocate his 
charity. If I thought the Republican party were standing upon the 
brink of a precipice, beneath which seethed those cold waters of obliv 
ion, instead of warning them, I pledge you my word I would try to 
induce them to step over the edge; in fact, I might lend them a push. 
[Laughter.] At least, I should feel as indifferent about it as the 
lodger at an inn did, who was awakened in the night when the meteors 
were falling, and told that the day of judgment had come. "Well, 
well," said he, testily, "tell the landlord about it; I am only a boarder." 
[Laughter.] 

And now, Mr. President, if the breath \vas about to leave my body 
and I was permitted to say but one word as to what my country most 
needed, that word should be, Rest ! Rest from strife, rest from sec 
tional conflict, rest from sectional bitterness, rest from inflammatory 
appeals, rest from this constant, most unwise, and unprofitable agita 
tion. Rest in all the lands and in all literature is used as the symbol 
of the most perfect state of felicity which mankind can attain in this 
world and the next. "And the land had rest" said the old Hebrew 
chroniclers in describing the reign of their good kings; "and his rest 



LIFE OF VANCE. 239 

shall be glorious," says the prophet Isaiah in foretelling the coming 
of our L,ord, when Ephriam should have ceased to envy Judah and 
Judah should have ceased to vex Ephriam. 

Heaven itself is described as rest a place where the weary are at 
rest. "There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God," 
saith the apostle. Can we not give rest to our people ? I know, Mr. 
President, that those from whom I come desire it above their chief joy. 
The excitement through which we have passed for the last twenty 
years, the suffering and the sorrow, the calamity, public and private, 
which they have undergone have filled their hearts with indescribable 
yearnings for national peace, for a complete moral as well as physical 
restoration of the Union. There is one policy, and but one, to effect 
this object, and that is the policy of conciliation, of restoration, so 
steadily pursued by the Democratic statesmen and people of the North. 
It is the only true statesmanship for our condition, the only genuine 
remedy for the hard times with which we are afflicted. Nature every 
where teaches it, and her thousand agencies, silent and mysterious, 
constantly inculcate it, even as day unto day uttereth speech and night 
unto night showeth knowledge. Cross this noble river which flows 
by our capital and search for the battle-fields of blood-watered Vir 
ginia. You can scarce find them. Dense forests of young saplings 
cover all the hills and plains that were so lately swept bare by march 
ing and encamping armies. "For there is hope of a tree if it be cut 
down that it will sprout again, and the tender branch thereof will not 
cease." Waving seas of wheat cover the open fields so lately plowed 
by the bursting shells while charging battalions met in deadly shock; 
and green grass has so covered the lines of intrenchment as to give 
them all the seeming of the cunning farmer s ditches. Restoration is 
nature s law; let us imitate her. God of all mercy and grace, may not 
these gaping wounds of civil war be permitted to heal, if they will ? 

No one not a lover of the South, of the Anglo-Saxon 
race and civilization, of justice and fair play; no one but a 
big hearted, big brain man; nobody but Vance could be the 
author of the following speech, delivered in the Senate 
January 30, 1890. 

Mr. Vance Mr. President, in accordance with the notice which I 
have heretofore given, I ask leave to make a few remarks on the bill 
introduced by the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Butler]. 

The Vice-President If there be no further morning business that 
order is closed, and the Chair lays before the Senate the bill (S. 1121) 
to provide for the emigration of persons of color from the Southern 
States. 

Mr. Vance Mr. President, one of the earliest recorded utterances 



240 UFE OF VANCE. 

of inspiration is, that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the child- 
dren. This is another way of saying that the mistakes of one generation 
endure to plague another. 

Several hundred years ago this fair land of ours, which it would 
seem God had specially intended for the chosen seat of liberty and the 
noblest development of man, was desecrated by the introduction of 
human slavery. The serpent thus entered into our political Eden. 
The great forests which covered the face of the earth called for labor 
to remove them, for more labor than the slowly coming immigration 
of the free races afforded. The morals of the age justified the holding 
of barbarous races in bondage. The favorite place for obtaining 
bondsmen was the African coast. So desirable did the supplying of 
the newly discovered islands and continents of the West with cheap 
labor appear, that old Joseph Hawkins was knighted by Queen Eliza 
beth, as much for his successful introduction of a cargo of slaves into 
the West Indies, as for his exploits against the Spaniards. Even so 
great and good a man as Las Casas, the Spanish apostle to the Indians, 
once advocated the introduction of African slavery. 

First and foremost in this calamitous and iniquitous traffic was 
New England. In fact, so anxious were the good people of those col 
onies for slaves that they reduced t<5 bondage the native Indians whom 
they captured in war, and, not unfrequently, those wicked people of 
their own race and blood who were guilty of differing from them in 
religious opinions. 

The tobacco-growing colonies of the South soon followed suit in 
the importation of African slaves, and early found how profitable this 
cheap and involuntary labor was in the raising of their great staple. 
The introduction of the cultivation and uses of cotton soon gave a fur 
ther impetus to slaveholding, and made the chief prosperity of all the 
Southern regions to depend mainly upon this enforced labor. Whilst 
the want of profitable returns gradually lessened the hold of the North 
upon slavery, its great profits constantly increased that hold upon the 
South. 

The stony and sterile fields of New England called for manufac 
tures and .commerce. That commerce consisted very largely in 
purchasing slaves on the African coast, and selling them to Southern 
planters. Thus their interests constantly drifted the Northern and 
Southern people apart in regard to African slavery. After a time it 
ceased to exist altogether in the North, by reason of emancipation 
laws made to take effect at fixed periods, and by their sales to their 
Southern neighbors. By this time the wrongfulness of holding slaves 
fully dawned upon the conscience of the Northern people. Its prickings 
became so active that they not only deemed it a sin to hold a slave 
themselves, but to permit anybody else to hold one, even though there 
was no responsibility whatever upon them for the transgression. 

They even went so far in obeying the dictates of conscience, that 



LIFE OF VANCE. 241 

they did not hesitate to stand up boldly in the sight of God, with the 
purchase money in their pockets, and denounce the vengeance of 
heaven against their Southern neighbors for holding on to the negro 
which they themselves had sold them. 

Every requisite to the effectual working of a good conscience was 
present. Slaveholding was not only unprofitable, as has been said, 
upon their soil and in their climate, but the lucrative trade of supply 
ing the Southern planters was abolished by the Constitution. In 
addition to this their sense of rectitude was unpardonably offended by 
the contemplation of the well-doing of their neighbors. Of course, 
men who burnt witches, banished or enslaved Quakers, and had made 
fortunes by the horrors of " the middle passage," could not be expected 
to tolerate any^ longer the ungodly thing which brought fortunes to 
to Virginia and Carolina planters. With ever increasing bitterness 
this conscientious crusade was kept up with an extravagance of language 
which scrupled not to denounce the Constitution itself ; which respected 
the slaveholders rights under State laws, as " a league with death and 
a covenant with hell." The inevitable result is fresh in our recollec 
tion. It ultimately led to civil war in which more than a million lives 
were lost and more than three billions of property destroyed, and as 
much of indebtedness incurred. The slaves were set free. 

Those of us in the South who had deprecated the war and deplored 
the agitation which led to it, as we sat in the ashes of our own homes 
and scraped ourselves with the potsherds of desolation, yet consoled 
ourselves for the slaughter of our kindred and the devastation of our 
fields by the reflection that this, at least, was the end ; that the great 
original wrong committed by our fathers had at last been attoned for ; 
that the Union having been declared indissoluble, and slavery forever 
abolished, the one great stumbling block and stone of offense was 
removed, and the people of these American States, henceforth homo 
geneous, could pursue their great destiny harmoniously and fraternally. 

How little we knew the temper of the victors in that great struggle. 
We made no calculation for the fact that the necessities of party 
supremacy w r ould lead men as far as even the prickings of conscience 
for an unprofitable sin had done. No sooner had we fairly witnessed 
the end of hostilities before acts of Congress were passed directing 
the subversion of all law and civil governments in the States of the 
South, under cover of which they were divided into military districts, 
over each of which was placed a general of the army, supported by 
sufficient troops. To these generals and their bayonets was committed 
the task of forming governments for the people of these overthrown 
States. This they did by holding elections under military control, by 
suppressing the vote of every free white man in those States, who, 
having at any time taken an oath to support the Constitution of the 
United States, had afterwards done any act in aid of the rebellion, and 
by thrusting with military force upon the ballot-box the entire mass of 

17 



242 LIKE OF VANCE. 

emancipated slaves, to whom the right to vote had been given by no 
law, human or divine, known to our federative system. By the con 
stitution thus forced upon the Southern people the negroes were made 
voters and invested with the like privileges in all respects as the white 
people. 

The Constitution of the United States had in like manner been so 
amended as to forbid the States from making any discrimination 
against the negro race, or in any manner impairing the rights which 
had thus been conferred upon them. Again, we in the South thought 
we had arrived at the end of our troubles connected with the negro 
question. Surely, we reasoned, as the colored man is now free, as he 
is made by law, State and Federal, equal with the white man in all 
respects, and has-been given the ballot to protect himself in these 
rights, surely the matter will now be at rest. We can close the chasm 
which the agitation about him has created between us and our North 
ern neighbors, v Again, were we sadly mistaken. After forty years of 
bitter agitation, four years of bloody war, and near a quarter of a cen 
tury more of trial under the new order of things, the negro again 
"bobs up serenely," and for his sake we are to-day threatened not 
only with a political agitation sufficiently disastrous within itself, but 
with a servile war whose weapons shall be the midnight torch and 
the assassin s dagger, and whose victims shall be sleeping women and 
children. 

This agitation and this threatened war is to arise from one of two 
facts: Either the friends of the negro in the North are disappointed 
because their well-laid schemes of reconstruction failed to secure the 
Republican party any aid from the Southern States, or because their 
reasonable expectations and hopes as to the colored man s capacity 
for helping himself and for governing others have been grievously 
wrecked. 

The Senator from Kansas, in his speech a few days ago, indig 
nantly denied the former assertion, and put the action of his friends 
altogether upon the high ground of benevolent patriotism. He was 
so candid in admitting the fault of his people for the introduction of 
slavery into this country, and for its retention in the North until it 
ceased to be profitable, that I was in hopes to hear him admit with 
equal candor that the whole scheme of reconstruction was intended 
for partisan Republican purposes. I concede this to him, however, 
and candidly admit that he does so believe and that, perhaps, he is the 
only sane man in Europe or America who is of this opinion. Taking 
it, then, upon his ground, is it any wonder that the truth compelled 
him to say: 

"But it can no longer be denied that suffrage and citizenship have 
hitherto not justified the anticipations of those by whom they were 
conferred. They have not been effective in the hands of the freed- 
mau, either for attack or defense." 



LIFE OF VANCE. 243 

In other words, here is a frank admission that twenty-five years of 
freedom and nearly as much of citizenship has proven a lamentable 
failure. It is true that he says the whites in the South are to blame 
for it ; that they have employed force, violence, and fraud, of which I 
will say more hereafter. I will only now make this suggestion : If it 
be true that in States where they largely outnumber the whites they 
are either intimidated from voting or are defrauded in the counting of 
their votes, is not that a strong argument against their supposed ca 
pacity for self-government ? Are" a people fit to govern themselves 
and others who would suffer themselves thus to be treated ? Is any 
man worthy of freedom who requires constantly to be tutored and 
protected in its exercise ? Is a man fitted to run a race who has to be 
held up in order that he may walk ? I have, indeed, heard of a beef 
which had to be held up in order to be knocked down to fill an army 
contract, but I have not known men fit for freedom who would be de 
terred from its exercise in the face of inferior numbers. Is there 
anything in the sentiment of the poet who says : 

"Hereditary bondsmen, know ye not 
Who would be free, themselves 
Must strike the blow ?" 

The Senator says: "That no other people on the face of this earth 
have ever submitted to the wrongs, the injustice which have been for 
twenty-five years heaped upon the colored men of the South, without 
revolution and blood." 

More than once this is repeated. It constitutes the burden of his 
speech, around which is clustered the brightest display of rhetorical 
pyrotechnics ever employed to conceal a paucity of ideas by the gor- 
geousness of phraseology. This rhetorical display across the forensic 
heavens reminded me forcibly of an astronomer s description of the 
remarkable tenuity of the tail of a certain comet. He said that its 
length was a hundred million miles as it stretched athwart the skies 
that its breadth was 50,000 miles and yet the solid matter which it 
contained could be condensed and transported in a one-horse cart. I 
listened and listened with the greatest entertainment to that speech, 
and searched and wondered where the remedy for the evil was and 
when it would be announced, and when I should see the solid matter 
of the illumination. Suddenly, before the light expired and we were 
left in darkness, he announced that the solution was justice, which, 
however sententious it might be, was about as definite and real as the 
twinkling which remain under the closed eyelids after the withdrawal 
of a fierce light. 

Justice, as he explains it, means our submission to negro rule. 
Having submitted to this for so long a time as he thinks would be fair, 
should it prove a failure he graciously promises that he will then con 
sult with us about some other solution of the problem ! 



244 LIFE OF VANCE. 

What are the facts which support this grandiose slander of an en 
tire people ? What wrongs and injustice have been done by the South 
ern people to these negroes that call for the "use of the torch and the 
dagger ?" They have been given the right of suffrage, not by the free 
action of the Southern whites, I admit, but at least by their reluctant 
assent. Since their admission to citizenship they have been elected to 
both branches of Congress and have occupied almost every position 
under State authority. They have controlled entire States, counties, 
and municipalities, and in every iristance their rule was marked by 
failure and ruin. It was a war against property, intelligence, and re 
spectability. The few years of their misrule in the South will.be 
forever remembered in our history for their corruption and retrogres 
sion, and will constitute a damnable blot on the memory of those who 
authorized it, and who looked on with complacency so long as the 
thieves were Republicans and the victims were Democrats. 

Whilst ever they could hold the throttled State in the Republican 
ranks, and send mongrels to the Senate and House of Representatives 
to strengthen Republican hands against "the cowardly and degraded 
element in the North that sympathized with treason," not a word of 
protest was heard from that entire party of justice and modest right 
eousness. But as soon as this corrupt and incompetent rule had 
wrought its inevitable results and had been overthrown by the union 
of all the best elements in the South, aided by the superior knowledge 
of the superior race, then began the complaints of Southern outrages 
and injustice. It is all very well to deny now that the whole object 
of reconstruction was partisan advantage, and to claim that the motive 
was patriotic. It is but the natural verification of the saying of old 
Samuel Johnston, that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." 
All the world knows why citizenship was given to the negro and the 
reason of the bitter disappointment which is everywhere confessed at 
its results. 

There is surely here no outrage against the negro that calls for 
revolution and blood. The wrong was against the white man, and was 
redressed by him without revolution. In obedience to the Constitution 
the Southern States admitted the colored citizens to a full participation 
in all the legal rights enjoyed by white citizens. They were placed in 
the jury-box, commissioned as magistrates, permitted to form com 
panies in the volunteer militia, duly commissioned and armed. School 
houses were built for them and normal schools established for the ed 
ucation of their teachers, whilst the school fund of the States was ap 
portioned to their schools, in proportion to their numbers, with all 
possible fairness. Asylums were built for the care of their insane, 
deaf, dumb and blind, wherein they receive the same treatment as the 
whites. The taxes for all this were levied by white legislators on their 
white constituents, who paid at least 95 per cent, of the total out of the 
little which the negroes and carpet-baggers had left them. If there be 



LIFE OF VANCE. 245 

any wrong, injustice, in all this, it can surely be seen only by that in 
tellectual vision which, "reaching far as angels ken," beholds no 
motives for the preservation of Republican supremacy in reconstruc 
tion, but only patriotic benevolence. 

Since the restoration of the South to the control of its own people 
the progress and prosperity of the negroes have been as great as, if not 
greater than, in any other country where his race exists. His increase 
in numbers has been phenomenal, and furnishes ample proof that he 
is fed, clothed and sheltered. The decrease of the death rate, of crim 
inal convictions, and of illiteracy, taken with the gradual and unfailing 
increase of his wealth, which is abundantly proven by the statistics, all 
give the lie flatly to the oft-repeated story of oppression and wrong un 
der which he suffered or is said to suffer. The truth is, he began to 
prosper when the whites took control. Progress for him would have 
been as impossible under his own rule as it was for the whites. Ten 
years more of such government as reconstruction fixed upon the South 
would have made that fairest portion of the American continent a 
howling wilderness. In short, it would have been Africanized, a fate 
which even the Senator from Kansas says is " not desirable ; " which 
taken in connection with his opening remarks on the danger of " blood- 
poisoning " by the adulteration of races, means much more than ap 
pears on the surface. The best thing, then, that could have been done 
for the negro was that which was done when the management of public 
affairs was taken from inexperienced and incapable hands and placed 
with the natural and competent rulers of the land. 

Where, then, I ask again, does the outrage on the colored man 
come in ? 

The Senator makes no complaint of the causes which led to the 
overthrow of reconstruction. He says : 

" Until 1877 the unstable fabric erected by the architects of recon 
struction was upheld by the military of the United States, and when 
this was withdrawn the incongruous edifice toppled headlong and van 
ished away as the baseless fabric of a vision. It disappeared in cruel 
and ferocious convulsions which form one of the most shameful and 
shocking of all the bloody tragedies of history. The attempt to reor 
ganize society upon the basis of numbers failed." 

Perhaps the Senator alludes to the stealing of the Presidency by 
his party, which happened in that year and which, though both shame 
ful and shocking, and in w 7 hich the attempt to reorganize society on 
the basis of numbers did to a certain extent fail, I did not know was 
properly characterized as a bloody tragedy. 

It is, however, an unequivocal admission that the reconstruction 
edifice was unstable and incongruous mild terms indeed for this most 
infernal episode in our history ; that it was upheld alone by military 
power, and disappeared when that power was withdrawn. No wrong 
upon the negro appears there. It seems that these intolerable outrages, 



246 LIFE OF VANCE. 

to which no other people on earth have submitted so long, are supposed 
somehow to exist in the fact that the overthrow of this incongruous 
structure the creature of military force has been followed by the 
maintaining on the part of the whites of the advantage which they 
gained by its downfall. "In that struggle he says that education, 
wealth, political experience, land-ownership in the South, all conspired 
against the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that they 
emerged from that dreadful conflict in full possession of all the powers 
of the States, and no serious effort has been made to deprive them of 
their guilty acquisition." I beg to remind the Senator, however, that 
many guilty efforts have been made to deprive them of their serious 
acquisition. 

But, inasmuch as the powers of the States are recognized by the 
Constitution, it is strange that the possession of them by their citizens 
should be held to be a violation of the Constitution. 

But the taking and keeping possession of the powers of the States 
seems to be the wrong inflicted upon the colored man. The gravamen 
of that wrong is that the negro can no longer send here Republican 
Senators and Representatives from the South and the votes of Repub 
lican electoral colleges to aid in the manufacture of Republican Presi 
dents. There are many errors of assumption required to make up this 
supposed wrong. In the first place, it is assumed that the vote is sup 
pressed on the ground that every colored man is a Republican. Next, 
it is assumed that every colored Republican is necessarily incapable of 
being influenced or beguiled by the arts of the electioneerer, and will 
always cast his ballot for the Republican nominees. They who reason 
thus go to the census tables and ascertain the number of negro voters 
of qualified age, the number of white voters likewise, and then estimate 
what their majorities ought to be. 

The discovery of a colored Democratic vote in the ballot-box is 
accepted as prima facie evidence of fraud. If those majorities are not 
forthcoming, they conclude that the vote of their friends has been 
suppressed. They forget what influences even one portion of our own 
people can exert over another ; much less do they remember how much 
more easily the united, superior race, with all its intelligence, wealth, 
and power, can influence the action of a race so far inferior and still in 
the shadow of the bondage from which they have been withdrawn. 

Neither has it entered into the consideration of the people of the 
North to place any stress upon the fact that there did exist, and still 
exists, between the former owner and the present freedman many of 
those kindly and controlling relations which existed between master 
and slave. It must be remembered that, in addition to his ignorance 
and inexperience of affairs, the colored man still leans upon and looks 
to his former master for direction and "advice universally so in all 
matters except politics ; that he is almost always either the tenant or 



LIFE OF VANCE. 247 

the employe of the white man, and that white man belongs to a race 
which the Senator from Kansas says is the 

"Most arrogant and rapacious, the most exclusive and indomitable 
in history. It is the conquering and the unconquerable race, through 
which alone man has taken possession of the physical and moral world. 
To our race humanity is indebted for religion, for literature, for civi 
lization. It has a genius for conquest, for politics, for jurisprudence, 
and for administration. * * * All other races have been its ene 
mies or its victims." 

Is it possible that such a race of men as this can not, without 
brutal violence or detestable fraud, maintain its supremacy over such 
a race as the negro ? Is it statesmanlike to assume that it can legiti 
mately have no influence, exert no force over the weaker and more 
ignorant ? Are there not undisputed facts sufficient to justify reason 
ing men everywhere in doubting the truth of these stories of outrage 
and wrong ? For example, I am glad to say that North Carolina is 
one of the States in the South where there is least complaint of in 
fringements of the colored man s rights, either at the ballot-box or in 
the courts of justice. 

The State of Mississippi is one of the States of the South where 
the complaints on behalf of the colored man are loudest and most ve 
hement; yet for six mouths past the negroes in eastern North Caro 
lina have been voluntarily moving at the rate perhaps of three or four 
thousand per month to this very State of Mississippi. They are not 
going to Kansas or to any other Northern State, but to Mississippi, pre 
sumably for the purpose of having their votes suppressed and of be 
ing slaughtered to Arkansas and to Texas. The fact is, they are in 
fluenced like other people, by the great economic law of supply and 
demand. For two or three years past eastern North Carolina has suf 
fered from a failure of the crops, and the planters of Mississippi are 
offering the negroes better wages than the Carolina planters can afford 
to pay, and the chief agents employed by the Mississippians for effect 
ing their contracts are intelligent educated negro men, many of them 
preachers. 

Evidently they do not believe these stories that are served up for 
campaign, political purposes here. I do not wish to be misunderstood 
in this matter. That there are instances of mistreatment and occasion 
ally of cruelty to the negroes now and then occurring in the South I can 
didly admit and regret. The millennium has not yet arrived in the 
land of reconstruction; the reign of perfect righteousness, of absolute 
justice, has not yet been established south of Mason andDixon s line, 
though of course it is in full operation just north of that imaginary 
division. There there is no suppression of the popular vote by jerry 
mander or otherwise; there there is no purchase of the floating vote 
in blocks of five, no ejectment of colored children from white schools 
or colored men from theaters and barber chairs, and where we may 



248 LIFE OF VANCE. 

hope that, in the process of time and in the spread of intelligence and 
increased appreciation of the virtues of the negroes, one black man 
may soon be sent to Congress from the North ; that some railroad 
attorney or millionaire will make room in the Senate of the United 
States for the colored brother ; that one colored postmaster for a white 
town may be appointed in the North ; that in the State of Kansas, the 
soil so prolific in friendships for the colored man, a respectable negro, 
duly nominated on the Republican ticket, may receive the full vote of 
his party, and not be scratched almost to the point of defeat by those 
who love him, as he was in Topeka ; that one accomplished colored 
man may be sent abroad to represent his country in some other land 
than Hayti or Liberia. 

Let us hope even that the great Republican party of the North 
may find the colored man fit to serve his country in some other region 
than the South and this great dumping-ground of political dead-beats, 
the District of Columbia, upon whose helpless people has heretofore 
been billeted, in all the offices from the judiciary down, every worn-out 
partisan for whom his people at home had no more use. Nay, under 
the appeals against the injustice of suppressing the colored vote which 
we daily hear, it would be a rapture of hope to express the belief that 
these great apostles of justice would restore the right of suffrage to 
the 225,000 people of this District, from whom it was taken on the 
well known ground that the negro vote was about to prove here an 
inconvenience. It might be replied, technically, that the injustice of 
suppressing votes depended upon the color of the voter, and that it 
was not an outrage to suppress white votes ; or, again, that it was no 
injustice to the franchise to suppress the vote by law on account of 
ignorance, nativity, or poverty, as so long prevailed in Rhode Island 
and Massachusetts. But I positively deny that there is any system 
atic, authorized, or official interference with the guarantied rights of 
the colored man in the South ! 

I positively aver that these constitutional obligations concerning 
the colored people are observed in good faith and that all individual 
infringements upon them are as much deprecated by the majority of 
our people as similar violations of law are deprecated in the North, 
and their perpetrators are punished by our courts with much more 
good faith and promptitude than the violators of the fugitive-slave laws 
were punished in the North, or than election bribery is punished to-day. 
It was but yesterday that we were told in this Senate Chamber the 
story of how a great criminal in behalf of the Republican party had 
been shielded from justice by the connivance of his party friends, for 
the offense of debauching and attempting to debauch the purity of the 
ballot-box. He is yet at large and defiant. The condition of the South 
ern people with regard to crime is ample proof of this. In criminal 
statistics we do not fear to compare records with any people. In the 
category of personal violence I admit that some of our communities 



LIFE OF VANCE. 249 

are open to severe criticism ; but I contend that the records will show 
that in the more odious, baser, and less manly crimes many of the 
Northern States are far ahead of anything known in the South. 

Be that as it may, however, the negro question has again come 
forward to vex the people of the South, and has to be met. Whether 
or not they are treated with injustice and oppression, it does not mat 
ter to those men or that party who expect to profit by the agitation ; 
nor does it matter whether the weal of the negro or the public gener 
ally is to be advanced thereby ; that is not their object. 

The real motive is that some men may have a horse to ride who 
would otherwise perhaps have to walk. The negro and his wrongs or 
rights will never be quiet so long as there is a white man to ride him. 
It has often been asserted that a superior and an inferior race which 
will not amalgamate can not live together under the same government 
with equal rights and laws. This may or may not be true. 

It is natural to suppose, if they can not agree, that the stronger 
will have its way and dominate the weaker : but there is one proposi 
tion, Mr. President, of which you may rest assured, there is no kind 
of doubt ; the stronger will never submit to the domination of the 
weaker. This might as well be set down as res adjudicata. 

There is another fact that may be noted now in connection with it. 
The Senator from Kansas let fall an expression which I regretted 
exceedingly to hear. Prefacing his utterance that he had never known 
a people to endure such wrongs without revolution and blood, he said : 
"The South, Mr. President, is standing upon a volcano, the South is 
sitting upon a safety-valve. They are breeding innumerable John 
Browns and Nat Turners. Already mutterings of discontent by hostile 
organizations are heard. The use of the torch and the dagger is 
advised." 

This is reasonably construed as anincitation to the work of murder 
and arson, and although he says that he "deplores it," yet, as the 
excuse and justification for such a course immediately follows, it is 
open to the construction that it is an indirect invitation to these people 
to lay our homes in ashes while we sleep, and murder unsuspecting 
people. 

The supposition that they are capable of such atrocities, it seems to 
me, is proof positive of their incapacity for civilized government and 
the extraordinary idea of justice and humanity of him who suggests it. 
He surely does not know anything of the inflammable nature of the 
negro in the South or he would not have ventured on the expression of 
such a threat. He furthermore told us in this connection that in case 
such a calamity came upon the Southern people as a servile war 
attended with whatever horrors it might be waged, we need look for no 
help from the people of our blood in the North ; that we must " tread 
the wine press alone." 

If he speaks truly in this, he passes the blackest and vilest judgment 
upon his own people that ever politician dared utter. 



250 LIFE OF VANCE. 

But, Mr. President, I do not believe one word of it. As the negro 
race that was born and reared among us did not rise up to do us harm 
in the hour of our extremest adversity, even for the great boon of free 
dom and amidst the most tempting incitements, but continued faithful 
to their masters and their families even within hearing of the guns that 
were roaring to set them free, so I do not believe that they can be thus 
incited to attempt it now. 

They have more of State and sectional pride and of neighborly affec 
tion for the people among whom they live than the Senator is willing 
to give them credit for. Nor do I believe that what he has said about 
the feeling of the North is true ; on the contrary, I believe as firmly as 
I believe in the gallantry, the courage, and all of the noble qualities of 
the great race to which I belong, that hundreds of thousands of stout 
hearts would come to our assistance on the wings of steam preceded by 
the messenger of lightning, should we unhappily ever need such help. 

It might be that they would mostly be composed of what he calls the 
"cowardly and degraded elements," the same elements that filled your 
armies for the defense of the Union and which filled the ranks of the 
defenders of the Constitution after the Union was saved ; but, for the 
sake of our common kindred and common glory, I believe that there 
would be no such feeling and no party division in such a crisis. But, 
Mr. President, we shall not need to call for help ; we could manage such 
a war without assistance. Had the Senator been a participant in or a 
critical observer even of the last one, he would know that the eleven 
Southern States, which, though much divided among themselves, un 
aided and alone kept the whole power of the Union, with its unlimited 
forces and untold treasure, at bay for four long years, could easily, with 
the aid of the great border States, overcome seven millions of negroes. 
Then there would be a solution of the negro problem that would stay 
solved. 

But a great mistake is made by those who assume that the whites 
exercise no influence over the negroes except by force or fraud. The 
black man is attached to the South and to the great body of its people. 
The behavior of the blacks since their freedom has in the main been 
good and gentle. All things considered, it has been wonderful. I be 
lieve I can say with truth that I have no personal knowledge of the 
occurrence of any riot or public disturbance anywhere in the South be 
tween the races that was not at the instigation of some white scoundrel; 
and in every case the blacks have got the worst of the fray, being de 
serted invariably by their cowardly white allies when the bullets began 
to fly. 

The negroes know this, and are well aware that the interference of 
outside friends has always inured to their disadvantage. They know, 
too, that however arbitrary and determined to rule his o"wn country the 
white man has been to them, that he has yet never deceived them by 
lying to them and making promises which he neither could perform nor 



LIFE OF VANCE. 251 

intended to perform, whilst from the days of reconstruction they have 
been the victims alike of Northern scoundrels for their personal profit, 
and of political demagogues for their own aggrandizement ; from the 
selling of Yankee unguents to make their hair straight, or painted pegs 
with which to secure land, as was said they did in our Peedee country, 
where some of the finest bottom lands were staked off at a dollar a peg, 
guaranteed by the United States Government to hold forty acres for 
every four pegs against any rebel in the South; to the passage of civil- 
rights bills for the purpose of hoisting them into positions of social 
equality with the whites. They know, too, that when they are in any 
kind of trouble they do not send North to a professional friend or 
philanthropist for help, but they search at once for old master and mis 
tress, or some one of old master s children. There, I thank God, in 
nineteen cases out of twenty, they find the help they ask. 

As among the white people there are good and bad, it is so among 
the colored. Naturally the proportion of bad among the latter is 
greater than in the former, but still there is a large percentage indeed 
who would scorn to wage a barbarous warfare against their white 
friends, even should the white man get off the safety-valve. I venture 
the prophecy that should the South ever be engaged in another war her 
colored citizens would crowd into the ranks of her armies in numbers 
fully proportioned to the black population. I think our Northern 
friends who so glibly undertake to settle the negro question have yet to 
make the acquaintance of the negro himself. Their judgment of him 
is formed manifestly by the class that swarm around this capital city, 
and whose inconvenient presence caused the suppression of the suffrage 
of this District. You listen to the few who come here to make traffic 
of their wrongs, and in turn you endeavor to make profit for your party 
by legislation directed towards those supposed wrongs. 

You acknowledge yourselves mistaken as to the results of recon 
struction. Many of your people now favor the withdrawal of the repre 
sentation in Congress which their numbers have given the South. Is 
it not possible that you are again mistaken as to the nature of the evils 
which affect them and what would be best for them ? When you as 
sume that because they mostly profess your politics and vote your 
tickets that, therefore, they are in a state of discontent that threatens 
at any moment to break forth in a bloody uprising, may you not be mis 
taken in the extent of your influence over them ? Are you not aware 
of the difficulty, the constant tutelage, and the vast amount of money 
you are compelled to employ to keep them in subjection to a party 
whose active and respectable corporation is as far distant from them as 
its promises are from its performance ; whilst the Democratic party, 
composed of the white men of the South, are their neighbors, land 
lords, and employers ? 

Mr. President, what is the so-called negro problem ? As I under 
stand it, it is one that cannot be solved by speculation or legislation ; 



252 UFE OF VANCE. 

but it is a question that will be settled by nature herself, if her laws 
are not interfered with by the folly and passion of men. Nature will 
solve it as she does waste, destruction and all incongruities. It may 
be thus stated: Given a high-spirited, liberty-loving, cultivated 
and dominating race, occupying a free State of their own establishment, 
under institutions of their own creation, full of activity, energy and 
progress ; with them, under the same laws, possessed of absolute 
legal equality, dwells an inferior race, manumitted slaves of recently 
barbaric origin, with no race traditions, with no history of progress, 
but lately invested with these unaccustomed and unearned franchises 
how shall the two be made to dwell together in fraternity and 
progress ? 

This is the question. It is a principle of our law fundamental in 
its nature, that the majority of those to whom the franchise is com 
mitted shall rule within limits. It is a principle of natural law, as 
old as man himself, that the stronger shall rule without limit. What 
is strength in a State ? Other things being equal numbers give 
strength ; but in the States of the South, whose conduct is com 
plained of, other things are far from equal. The whites where not 
actually in superior numbers are yet possessed of far superior know 
ledge, courage, skill in the use of weapons and tools, race pride, tra 
ditions, experience of affairs, and self-control. Placing these two 
side by side, is it not as sure as certainty can be made that one will 
outstrip the other and control it ? Nature would reverse all her own 
decisions if it were not so. 

If the weaker be in the way of the stronger the former will be re 
moved. If two men start on a journey, the pace is regulated by the 
slower, if they be compelled to keep together ; and, however great the 
powers of the swifter, if compelled to wait for his feebler brother, his 
powers are of no more use than if he had them not. Naturally, he 
will drop his brother behind and stride forward. The attempt to re 
strain him by legislation is unnatural and he will resent it. To say 
that the superior race shall not by its superior knowledge and virtue 
rule the inferior, is to say that weakness shall control strength, that 
ignorance and vice shall control knowledge and virtue. To attempt 
by legislation to place ignorance and vice in control of knowledge and 
virtue because of the superior numbers of the ignorant, would be to 
enact that the civilization of great races shall not enjoy the power 
and influence with which God endowed them ; that three weak men, 
however ignorant and debased, shall forever control two white men, 
however wise and virtuous. , 

The mere statement of the proposition shows that it is hostile to 
the highest natural and moral laws which have been impressed upon 
man and constitute the basis of his civilization. 

Mr. President, I know the negro well. I was born and reared 
among them, and have all my life lived in close association with them. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 253 

I affirm to you, not that lie is incapable of civilization, but that he is 
incapable of attaining to and keeping up with the civilization of the 
race to which we belong. At the very best, his refinement must be of 
a low order compared to ours. Any attempt, therefore, to force him 
into equality with us in the race of progress can result in nothing else 
but the retarding of the advancement of the Southern whites. Those 
who have determined to subject, at all hazards, to negro rule those 
States of the South where they are in superior numbers, have simply 
determined that the white man s progress shall be measured by the 
negro s, if, indeed, it does not result in explosion and mutual destruc 
tion. Fair-minded men everywhere may accept this as truth. The 
sons of Ham have had the same opportunities that the sons of Shem 
and Japheth have had. No where have they improved them. 

I know not whether I should give credence to the oft-repeated 
allegation that they are forever feeling the effect of their ancestor s 
curse, but this I do know, that they have been in close contact with 
every civilization of which we have any knowledge ; with the oldest 
Egyptian, the Assyro-Babylonian, the Grecian, the Roman, and the 
modern ; in each of them we read of his presence and in every instance 
he was a slave. 

He learned nothing for the benefit of his race from his civilized 
masters in all these ages. He has made more progress in one hun 
dred years as a Southern slave than he made in all the five thousand 
years intervening from his creation until his landing on these shores. 

He has no type now living on this earth equal to those of the 
present generation who were born and raised in the slave States of 
America, All of which should be considered by those who have phil 
osophy and fairness enough to look at the matter in some other light 
than the necessities of the Republican party in the next campaign. 

The fact dwelt upon by the Senator from Kansas concerning their 
behavior towards their masters during the war is fully admitted. It 
is a strong argument to prove either that they were unfitted for the 
great boon of liberty or that the horrid stories of inhuman treatment 
by their masters were lies. I am not only willing but anxious to have 
justice done them in everything, and to do all that may be required of 
me to aid them in the difficulties of their position ; but I am not will 
ing that they should rule me or my people. It is my pride that my 
State has been just to them and generous, and that in the adjusting of 
the new order of things after their enfranchisement I had no incon 
siderable hand in providing those laws and institutions which have 
made them comparatively well content in North Carolina. 

I believe them incapable, for many reasons, of properly control 
ling public affairs, but I do believe them capable of making valuable 
citizens under the wiser control of the whites. My solution of the 
problem is simply, "Hands off." Let no man be afraid that if the 
Northern people cease their interference the negroes will be driven to 



254 UFE OF VANCE. 

wall. On the contrary, it is your interference that causes or aggra 
vates whatever of trouble is inflicted upon them. 

Such is the nature of man. We prefer to do things of our own 
volition that we would refuse to do at the dictation of those who have 
no right to order. Within my memory as a child there was a strong 
and growing anti-slavery party in North Carolina, headed by many of 
our greatest and most honored citizens, some of whom sat in these 
seats before me. Orations against slavery and its consequences were 
freely delivered and with applause, before the classes of our Univer 
sity. This cause, under the influence of its great advocates, would 
soon have claimed a majority of the voters of North Carolina, but those 
fiery zealots of the North, who, as Carlyle says, were so anxious to 
serve God that they took the devil into partnership with them, began 
their interference. A crusade against slavery and slave-holding, in 
defiance of legal rights, was begun and kept up until so far was the 
cause of emancipation overthrown that twenty-five years after these 
same great and honored North Carolinians would have suffered insult 
and violence for repeating their orations. Men will not be bullied 
even into doing right. Know, therefore, that every speech you make, 
every law you enact denunciatory of or punitive against the Southern 
people, with a view to subject them to the rule of their emancipated 
slaves, defers indefinitely that state of cordial harmony between whites 
and blacks which is so necessary to both. 

There is another way by which, in my opinion, you also do the ne 
groes a damage by your constant interference. You do nothing to 
increase the cordiality between them and their white neighbors. You 
know that their well-being depends upon their being on good terms 
with their landlords and employers more than upon anything else ; yet 
you are constantly endeavoring to drive a wedge between them and to 
push them further apart. You endeavor to make them look altogether 
to you for help. You have coddled them so long and made them so 
many promises that they have ceased to rely upon their own exertions 
and have come to believe that it is the duty of others to provide for 
them. No greater injury could be done to any people. 

The historian of the Spanish conquests in America, Arthur Helps, 
remarks that the considerate and gentle regulations provided for the 
Indians of the Pearl coast by the benevolent Las Casas " proved a sad 
restraint upon the energies of the race, as no man leans long on any 
person or thing without losing some of his original power and energy. " 
You have legislated and amended constitutions for him, denounced 
your neighbors, and glorified the negro and officially wept over his 
condition until you have to a very great extent made him a " dodder," 
a parasitic animal without support in self-respect or self-reliance, a 
class of men which of all others is least desirable in a progressive com 
munity. 

" Any new set of conditions," says the philosopher, Ray Lankester, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 255 

" occurring to an animal which render its food and safety very easily 
attained seem to lead, as a rule, to degeneration." 

Applying this principle in nature to the moral world, Henry Drum- 
mond says : 

" Any principle which secures the safety of the individual without 
personal effort or the vital exercise of faculty is disastrous to moral 
character." 

Suppose you trust the Southern people for awhile ? You can not be 
lieve that any considerable number of them desire to do wrong or to 
treat the negroes unjustly ? If you say you trust them and withhold 
your interference, public sentiment, with a power that can not be re 
sisted, will soon enforce State laws and constitutional amendments in a 
manner that will satisfy all honest men ; not perfunctorily, but with 
cheerful zeal. 

I regret exceedingly that I can not support the bill of the Senator 
from South Carolina. My objection to it is on the ground of imprac 
ticability. It would result in no relief ; few negroes would go from the 
country under its provisions and those would probably be the best. I 
can not say that I have any desire to attempt in any way so great and 
unhistorical a task as removing a whole people, amounting probably 
to 7,000,000. Their presence among us, of course, I regret. I should 
be happy to know that there was not one of them in the United States 
to be the unwilling cause of everlasting contention between our peo 
ple. But they are here, and I for one am willing to do my best to live 
with them in harmony. I can well see, however, and appreciate the mo 
tive of the honorable Senator in taking this action. I know how his 
State has been weighed down in the past by this incubus and how dark 
the future of his people must appear under the ever-threatening danger 
of a recurrence to the carnival of corruption and misrule of i868- 69 and 
1870. 

So far as the evil may be capable of remedy by removal of any 
kind, I would suggest that it is perfectly practicable to induce these 
people to settle in the various States of this Union w T hich now have few 
or no colored people. There is ample room for them throughout the 
Northern and Northwestern States, each 6ne of which could receive 
enough to relieve the pressure entirely upon those States in the South 
whose progress is about to be destroyed, and yet not inconveniently 
interfere with the well-being of any Northern State. Besides, if the 
presence of negroes in superior numbers does amount to a positive evil 
in the South, I submit that it is the duty of the other States to assist 
them in removing or so distributing the evil that it shall be harmless. 
If the negro is a good thing we are willing to divide him up. [Laughter.] 
There is plenty of him to go round. 

Nothing is wanting to the execution of this suggestion except the 
consent of these Northern States. One-half of the inducements and 
the solicitations which they hold out to foreigners, if extended to the 



2 5 6 



OF VANCE. 



negroes of the South, would within ten years draw such numbers of 
them as to leave all the Southern States with decided white majorities ; 
: is well-known that there is little or no complaint of the mis- 
tient of negroes where there are white majorities. This would 
equalize the conditions of all the States. The introduction of large 
numbers of the colored race into every Northern State would be equiv 
alent to an amendment to the Constitution and would restrain you 
effectually from the passage of any laws or the attempting of any kind 
nterference that would discriminate between the States of the 
American Union on account of their locality or previous condition of 
slavery. It would familiarize the masses of your people with the 
negro, his capacities, his "habits, and his needs, and you neither would 
nor could ^then strike any vindictive blows at the Southern people 
without its immediate reacting upon yourselves. 

As it is impossible for us to become homogeneous by all being 
white, this plan would make it quite possible for us to become homo 
geneously all being partly white and partly colored, retaining white 
majorities in each State. North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennes 
see, Arkansas and Texas would need not to surrender any of their 
colored people, and it would only require the removal of about 500,000 
blacks from the States of. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida 
and South Carolina to give every State in the Union such a decided 
preponderance of whites as to remove all danger of negro supremacy 
and all fear of trouble from this source. 

What say the Republican Senators to this ? Of course you will 
say that your doors are open now to all who may see proper to come, 
but that is not sufficient to induce them to remove. Are you willing 
to offer thenrsome special inducement? Are you willing to vote 
money out" of the United States Treasury to pay their expenses and to 
support them for a short time until they can get a start in their new 
homes ? Surely you will demonstrate your sincerity in some practical, 
helpful way, and not confine your benevolent statesmanship to cheap 
words. If you will help neither black nor white, you should, in com 
mon decency, hold your peace. 

Of Vance s last public appearance in Charlotte the 
Charlotte Observer of November 2d, 1892, gave the follow 
ing account: 

Vance J j Vance ! was the sound which burst spontaneously from 
the immense audience, as the applause for Mr. Ham subsided, and as 
the noble, loved "Zeb" rose, the people went wild. Old men, young 
men, women and children jumped to their feet, waving handkerchiefs 
and hats, and cheering until the very building seemed to rock. Not 
a person in the house remained seated ; many stood on the benches, 
hats were thrown up, and such an expression of love, affection and es- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 257 

teem was never shown to any son of North Carolina at any time, or 
anywhere, as was expressed in the great ovation over Vance. On the 
rostrum every man rose, and following Mr. Ham s lead, all waved 
their handkerchiefs and cheered for fully ten minutes. It was a great 
demonstration, and one that did honor even to the loved Senator. As 
he stood on the rostrum amidst the deafening cheers of his people, 
he looked like a grand chieftain leading his people and guiding them 
simply by his presence. It was a scene the like of which w r as never 
witnessed in Charlotte before. 

"Fellow-citizens and good friends," said the Governor, and a still 
ness profound ensued as he began to speak. "I thank you from my 
heart for the cordiality of this reception. I am deeply touched at this 
evidence of your esteem, and wish I could do more than acknowledge 
it, but you all know that I have not been able to take part in this the 
most important campaign since the reconstruction. To-night I speak 
against the advice of my physician, but you know when we begin to 
get well we think less of the doctor than when we are sick. It makes 
me glad at heart to see such an audience in Mecklenburg, and to make 
you a speech is as tempting to me as a good dinner would be to a real 
hungry man. 

"I want to say this, however. In my political career I have seen 
party after party rise up against Democracy and all have died except 
the Republican party, which lives, but is not expected to live very 
long. All other parties have disappeared, leaving only that smell 
which the able Georgian has just referred to. [Applause.] Now 
there has come a time when there are real grievances. Every true 
reformer must be the friend of Democracy and the enemy of Repub 
licanism. The tendency of the Third party is to affiliation with the 
Republican party, and my Third party friend, you will land right in 
the Republican party. Unless you stay in the old Democratic ship 
there is no salvation for you." 

The chapter is closed with the last speech Vance ever 
delivered. It was among his ablest speeches and many 
think his very ablest. It was, indeed, a remarkable speech, 
and, in the light of subsequent events, truly prophetic in 
some particulars. The assertion is ventured by one who 
does not concur in his views of the silver question, that the 
speech is abler and more logical and candid than any one 
of the thousands that have been subsequently delivered on 
the same side of that question. Congressman Woodward, 
in the excellent eulogy already quoted from, says of this 
effort : 

18 



258 LIFE OF VANCE. 

" The last speech he made in the Senate was in opposition to the 
unconditional repeal of the Sherman law. I always considered it a 
great privilege to have heard this speech, by many considered one of 
the ablest ever delivered in the Senate. 

" Fatal disease had already laid its hand upon him. His stalwart 
frame had grown feeble and weak, his voice had lost much of its pecu 
liar charm and power. He was speaking when I entered the Senate. 
Almost every Senator was in his seat, listening eagerly to the powerful 
argument he was making. He had not proceeded long before all evi 
dence of his feeble condition had seemingly passed away, and feeling, 
as he no doubt did, that this might be his last appeal for legislation 
believed by him to be vital for the best interests of his people, he hus 
banded all his strength and for nearly two hours held the undivided 
attention of the Senate. It was a great speech, enlivened by the flashes 
of his wit and humor, his argument sustained by his powerful logic. 
It deserves to rank among the ablest delivered by any Senator during 
that memorable debate." 

And Congressman Crawford, on the same occasion, said : 
" The last speech he made was on September ist, 1893, 
against the unconditional repeal of the Sherman law. With 
prophetic wisdom he predicted that there would be no leg 
islation favorable to silver if not had at the time the Sher 
man law was repealed. This was one of the greatest 
speeches of his life and he spoke with his old time vigor. 
When he had concluded I congratulated him, saying : 
Governor, you seem to be yourself again. And he replied : 
By nojneans ; I am thoroughly exhausted. And the great 
statesman stepped out of the Senate and the great doors 
closed behind forever." 

The Senate having under consideration the bill (H. R. i) to repeal 
a part of an act approved July 14, 1890, entitled "An act directing the 
purchase of silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and 
for other purposes," Mr. Vance said: 

MR. PRESIDENT The metallic money of the world is estimated at 
about $7,500,000,000. About one-hal-f of this is silver, which is full 
legal-tender money, and in addition thereto there is about $550,000,000 
of subsidiary silver in use in the different nations of the world. This 
money is the means by which the world s exchanges are effected and 
their values measured. It is needless to say that the great law of 
supply and demand has operation and effect in regard to this money, 
as in regard to everything else. When money is abundant prices are 



LIFE OF VANCE. 259 

high; when money is scarce the prices of all products are low. There 
fore, he that increases the abundance of money benefits production 
and enhances prices and wages, and he that contracts or diminishes 
the amount of this money depreciates everything which is for sale, in 
cluding wages, though by reason of combinations and defensive 
measures in many parts of the world wages are affected less than 
products. 

The effect upon the condition and well-being of mankind which 
would follow the destruction of one-half of this currency it is im 
possible accurately to describe. The imagination of a poet would be 
required to portray its misery; and only he who wandered through the 
horror-laden mazes of the Inferno, or he that exulting in still sublimer 
song portrayed the wretchedness of man s disobedience and fall, could 
adequately set forth the evil, the suffering, and the sorrow which would 
come to mankind if their wages and the prices of all their products were 
decreased in the proportion that would follow the destruction of one-half 
of the world s money. Yet, this process of destruction has been going 
on quietly since 1872, the result of which we see in prices lower in many 
things than have ever been known within the memory of man. 

Great Britain led off in the demonetization of silver so early as 
1816, in consequence, as is said, of her great debts to the Jew 
Rothschilds, to meet which she made gold her only standard of money, 
reducing silver to subsidiary circulation. After the great Franco- 
Prussian war Germany was induced to adopt the gold standard. So 
great then became the pressure upon adjoining nations that the Latin 
Union, which had been formed for the purpose of maintaining silver 
within the boundaries of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and 
Greece, were compelled to cease coining silver and devote all their 
efforts to the maintenance of that which they had coined. About the 
same time the United Stages ceased coining, by a fraud in legislation 
when silver, which at that moment was at a premium over gold, began 
to decline, and has continued to decline ever since. 

In 1878 the indignation of the people forced its remonetization, 
and under the operation of the Bland law, coinage was resumed at a 
rate of not less than $2,000,000 a month and not more than $4,000,000, 
at the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury. Of course, this dis 
cretion was exercised against silver, as it always has been, and only 
$2,000,000 a month was coined; but it stayed the downward course of 
silver, and the common people received it gladly. 

At the beginning of this year, 1893, it was coined for legal-tender 
purposes in none of the leading commercial nations of the European 
world, to but a limited extent in the United States, and in India it 
was coined freely. It is remarkable that in the United States and in 
Germany in 1873, when it was demonetized, silver was at a premium ; 
and in 1816, when Great Britain demonetized it, it was likewise at a 
premium. 



260 LIKE OF VANCE. 

In June of this year the British-India council, anticipating, as was 
said, the action of the Government of the United States in repealing 
the Sherman law, which it was supposed would render silver next to 
worthless, suddenly stopped coinage of the silver rupee, and announced 
that the government would itself coin limited quantities, as the pub 
lic needs might require. Then the effort to have the coinage altogether 
stopped in the United States began, aided by the influence of the 
moneyed power of all the world and our own Government. 

Silver lives now, so to speak, only in the United States here 
among the people who recognized it as money when they established 
their constitutional form of government it makes its last stand. If its 
coinage is stopped now, it ceases to live throughout the commercial 
nations of the earth, and drops out of sight. The repeal of the Sherman 
law, without any substitute providing for the continued coinage of 
silver, is the end of silver money for this generation, except as sub 
sidiary coin, unless, indeed, a great revolution of the people should 
restore it, as was done after the fraudulent demonetization of 1873. 

Then the trouble of the defenseless begins ; the glory of the capi 
talists is exalted ; the fatness of the usurer waxeth, and woe be unto 
him who is in debt ! One-half of the money of the world being des 
troyed, the exchanges of the world s productions among its inhabitants 
devolves upon the other half the price of the remaining money, gold, 
goes up that is to say, the price of every product and every day s 
work goes down. Let no man doubt that this movement is the result 
of a conspiracy, a combination among the money-holders of the world. 

Our own Secretary of the Treasury has said so. It has been 
announced again and again in the British House of Commons, and I 
have nowhere seen it denied. 

The intent of this combination is to increase the value of the 
gold in the hands of those who hold it, and to increasje the values of all 
securities, personal and governmental, by making them payable in 
gold, which are likewise held by these conspirators. The method of 
attack on this last remaining stronghold of silver was by the creation 
of a panic. The only statutory enactment which binds us to the use 
of silver and makes us a bimetallic people is what is known as the Sher 
man law. Under the operation of this law, 4,500,000 ounces of silver 
per month was required to be purchased and coined until the ist of July, 
1891, after which time only so much was to be coined as was necessary 
to redeem the notes issued for its purchase. 

These were called Treasury notes, and any technically intelligent 
man would naturally suppose that when a law required the purchase 
of silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes in payment thereof, 
and provided for the coinage of that bullion into silver dollars for the 
purpose of redeeming those notes, payable in either gold or silver at 
the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury, it was meant for him 
to exercise that discretion iu favor of silver, when the interest of the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 261 

public and the condition of the Treasury required it. It was construed 
differently, and parties would procure those Treasury notes and pre 
sent them to the Treasury where they were invariably redeemed in 
gold. 

This gold was shipped abroad in many cases, because a scramble 
was going on in Europe for gold. The demonetization of silver had 
already produced its inevitable effect, and the gold supply was not 
sufficient for those communities ; hence, much was shipped from this 
country mostly obtained by the means of Treasury notes. It is quite 
true that it could have been obtained just as easily by the presentation 
of greenbacks, by the presentation of gold certificates, by the presenta 
tion of bonds or the coupons upon said bonds, or by the presentation of 
national bank notes. In fact, there was not an obligation of the 
Government outstanding but what was reducible to gold. 

Yet these men who were desirous of creating a panic chose to 
attribute the departure of gold alone to the Sherman law, and with 
loud-mouthed clamor they declared there was danger of the Govern 
ment being reduced to a silver basis and discharging its obligations in 
silver coin. Some foreigners believed this, and sent over a few of our 
securities and put them upon the market for realization. This created 
such alarm among those who held these securities and feared for their 
margins, that the clamor, which began in a false pretense, ended in a 
howl of real terror. Their deposits were rapidly withdrawn and they 
justly suffered. They brought such pressure to bear upon the Presi 
dent as induced him to call an extra session of Congress in the dog 
days for the simple and sole purpose of repealing this law. 

In the midst of this clamor it was ascertained that we had largely 
overtraded and the balance was against us in Europe, which caused the 
gold to go out; and so soon as wheat and cotton began to pour into the 
market the tide was turned, and the gold began to come back and con 
tinues to come back to this day. But, determined to pursue their 
warfare for the demonetization of silver, and enable them to refute the 
the arguments which the gold coming in every day furnished, they put 
the necessity for the repeal of the law upon the fact that they had lost 
"confidence;" that there was a want of confidence in the ability and 
disposition of the Government to pay its debts in gold; whereas it was 
only the depositors who had lost confidence in the banks. 

Those of New York being parties to the conspiracy, of course con 
tracted their circulation, refused money on the usual terms, which 
caused the stopping of some factories and the stagnation of some busi 
ness enterprises* and some distress among small dealers and working- 
men. Never was there a more senseless clamor or a more criminal 
disturbance of public confidence. Every dollar of our currency that 
we had before was still here, and the Sherman law was adding to it at 
the rate of $50,000,000 per annum ; in fact, one speaker in the House of 
Representatives, more candid than the rest, declared that the want of 



262 LIFE OF VANCE. 

confidence was produced by a too great abundance of money and not 
by a scarcity. 

When the danger of resorting to the gold standard was pointed out 
by showing that the production of gold is slightly decreasing, and not 
near keeping pace with the increasing demands of commerce and pop 
ulation, we were told that although the amount of gold produced from 
the earth was not increasing, that there was an extraordinary amount 
of it held in private hands in Europe and America. That tells the 
whole story the decreasing supply, and the extraordinary holdings in 
the hands of the conspirators silver, the only rival of gold, being 
wiped out, the world would be at the mercy of those who held the 
yellow, metal. And so the attempt is now made to give the finishing 
touch to silver by this panic, more fraudulent than was the legislation 
of 1873 ; and, though $40,000,000 of gold has come in within the last 
thirty days, and continues to come, and will come just so long as we 
keep foreigners in our debt, they keep up their clamor for repeal. If 
the Sherman law sent out gold, it surely has brought it back. If not, 
what has made it return ? 

If the fact of its going is due to that law, the fact of its returning 
is equally proof that it is due to that law ; and the fact that in the midst 
of this clamor the resources of our country are so great as to be able 
to check the outflow of gold and to turn the tide in the home direction, 
ought to restore confidence to every man whose confidence is worth 
securing even to the loud-mouthed stock gambler and the other " con 
fidence men " who are managing and steering this panic. 

But they refuse to be comforted, and at this moment, as I talk, 
banks which had shut down for the want of currency have reopened 
for business, enterprises suspended temporarily are starting up again, 
and the Sherman law continues to feed the reaction at the rate of $50,- 
000,000 per annum added to the currency. It looks as though they 
were afraid their panic would pass away and be exploded before they 
could get silver destroyed. But all the argument in regard to the uses 
and advantages of silver money are conceded ; so, too, are all the bless 
ings which attend bimetallism, and all the evils which would be upon 
the country by the destruction of one of the great factors of exchange, 
and I need not further discuss them. 

The discussion is further narrowed by the fact that all parties pro 
fess bimetallism, how sincerely is doubtful, and have declared for the 
use of both gold and silver in their platforms and their speeches and 
public professions. Even the author of the much-abused and maligned 
law that they wish to repeal says he is a bimetallist ; so do all the Re 
publican Senators on this floor, every one ; likewise the author of the 
bill to repeal that law and those on the Democratic side who agree 
with him all claim to be devoted bimetallists ; some, however, on 
conditions well known to be impossible, some on conditions known to 
be improbable, and some on other conditions available in all things 



LIFE OF VANCE. 263 

except as to time. They say, " Not now ; the stringency is too great ; 
at sortie other time we will do the thing that is right by silver. Go thy 
way, at a more convenient season I will call for thee." [Laughter.] 

I have even heard it intimated that the President himself is a bi- 
metallist, but this is not authentic, and those who know that he 
generally does his own talking and announces his own position will 
receive this with many grains of allowance. So, then, the advantages 
of a currency founded on both metals, the dangers and distress which 
might arise from the demonetization of silver, all being acknowledged, 
it only remains for us to inquire supposing we are in good faith 
whether the bill before us pursues the only way, or the best way, or 
any other way at all to promote, establish, and maintain the bimetallic 
use of silver as an equal co-ordinate part of our currency. 

Mr. President, human endeavor runs much in ruts. There has 
never been a robbery imposed upon the American people in the shape 
of a tariff on any article, from a darning needle to a steel rail, from a 
25-cent wool hat to a $500 shawl, that has not been imposed in the 
name and for the benefit of the laboring people alone. [Laughter.] 
The idea that the capitalist was to be benefitted by such tariff exaction 
was always scouted as altogether untrue. Strange to say, this impu 
dent and unblushing lie always found some believers such is the 
credulity of mankind. The same tactics are resorted to in this discus 
sion of the financial question. 

Knowing the popularity of silver money with the great masses of 
the people, speakers in this House and the other sing the same praises 
of bimetallism, from the invocation to the doxology of these services, 
coupled with the solemn averment that they are the best and truest 
friends of that system to be found, and that unconditional repeal is 
the only true road to attain it. [Laughter.] 

With all the grave pledges of their party platforms, State and na 
tional, staring them in the face, as well as their own speeches, promises, 
and votes in the recent past, blowing trumpet-tongued against the 
deep damnation of the taking-off of silver, they clamor all the fiercer 
and all the louder that the only way to save silver is to repeal the one 
law on our statute book which gives it life. 

Mr. President, in the presence of a position so defiant of logic and 
of fact, it is hard to speak plainly without appearing to violate those 
courtesies which are not only required by parliamentary law, but which 
are urgently demanded by our feelings of personal respect and regard 
for each other. It is my earnest desire not to do so. 

One member of the House met with great applause when he said 
that the bill to repeal unconditionally conies not to destroy but to save 
silver. The like sentiment has been uttered in this Chamber again 
and again, and those who have uttered it would, no doubt, feel greatly 
offended if their sincerity was impugned. Certainly I shall not do so, 
but I must point out what I regard as their inconsistencies. They 



264 LIFE OF VANCE. 

declare they love silver money, bimetallism ; therefore they slay it. 
They want both metals; therefore they abolish one. The want gold 
and silver coined on terms of equality, according to their platform, and 
so they stop coining silver in order the better to restore it. 

They want to maintain the parity between the two metals, there 
fore they cut the only cord that holds silver up and permit it to drop 
out of sight in the abyss, displaying thereby the same wisdom which 
was displayed by the Irishman who was going down the shaft of a mine 
in a bucket, and got scared. He shouted : " Haul me up, boys, haul 
me up ! If you don t haul me up, may the devil fly away with me if I 
don t cut the rope ! " [Laughter.] Those of us who claim to be like 
wise true friends of silver, but who are misguided by our weak judg 
ments, appreciate this love and tender care, and deplore it. 

Truly they must love silver much, since they chastise it much. 
We will suppose a man is ill and on his bed the kind physicians doc 
toring him in vain he slowly sinks, his pulse is low and feeble. 
Finally a bolder physician comes in who practices on the heroic theory, 
and he says to the others, " You are all wrong and wasting time in try 
ing to restore this man by nursing and stimulating him ; he will never 
get up in that way in the world. Let us try a new plan ; let us cut his 
throat and take a new start ; we can adopt other remedies for his restor 
ation to life after that." [Laughter.] 

Now, he that believes it will be easier to resurrect the dead body 
of silver into the full manhood of free coinage than it will be to keep 
in the life it already has and strengthen it by the legislation which we 
solemnly promised the people at Chicago, fourteen months ago, let 
him vote for unconditional repeal ; I shall not. I shall try common 
sense a little while longer. If it be indeed decreed that silver money 
is to perish, and the world of the producers and the poor is to undergo 
the travail and suffering and the sorrow of the road which leads to a 
single gold standard, it shall not be my fault ; it shall not be said of 
me, " Greater love hath no man than this, that a man killed his friend 
that he might save his life. (Laughter. ] Great, indeed, must be the 
love of these men for silver, that they would chasten it even unto 
death. 

But they deny that the repeal of the Sherman law means the death 
of silver, and I accord full sincerity in this belief to all who are and 
have been real friends to silver. There is no telling what a man can 
not bring himself to believe if much depends on it. But can there be a 
doubt of this ? Let us see. It stops the coinage of silver in terms ; 
there is no doubt about that much. It will also cause a great fall in 
the bullion price of silver ; neither can there be any doubt of that. In 
fact, it is admitted ; but just how great that fall will be is somewhat 
conjectural. 

The stoppage of not all coinage, but free coinage in India alone, 
caused a fall of about 20 cents an ounce, and Lord Lansdowne said that 



LIFE OF VANCE. 265 

the action of the Indian council was a defensive measure made neces 
sary by the expected action of the United States in repealing the 
Sherman law and ceasing to coin it altogether. This shows that the 
expected fall consequent on our legislation w r as to be great, as it neces 
sitated this important move by the council of India. The fall will 
certainly be equal to that which followed the action of the Indian coun 
cil. In my opinion it will be even greater, for our annual purchase of 
silver exceeded the coinage of India. 

After we shall have repealed the silver-purchase law and substi 
tuted nothing to uphold it as a money metal, silver will, in my opinion, 
sink to the level of the demand which is created by its use in the arts 
and the necessity of occasionally replenishing the subsidiary or token 
money of the countries so using it, estimated at about $555,000,000, as 
before stated, or about one-eighth of the silver money now in use. 
Seven-eighths of the demand, therefore, being thus abolished, natural 
economic laws would justify us in saying that the price would be re 
duced in the same proportion ; but to the figures thus arrived at must 
be added whatever would be created by the demand for its use in the 
arts. 

Will not our remaining silver dollar participate in this decline ? 
If, while sustained by a coinage law and made a legal tender, our dol 
lar is denounced as dishonest and as only having a bullion value of 53 
cents, what will be said of it when the bullion of it is worth only about 
3o cents ? If now, our own Secretary of the Treasury will not tender 
it in discharge of silver obligations, what will become of it in the trad 
ing world when it strikes the bottom ; and what must be thought of a 
Senator or Congressman who asserts that immediately after its repeal 
our remaining dollar will become equal to a gold dollar, and the parity 
will be complete ? Is that what the Chicago platform meant, that you 
should make silver dollars so scarce that the parity with gold would be 
equal ? Is that what it means when saying "We hold to the use of 
both gold and silver ? " 

If so, then all the world is bimetallic, for all use both, and the 
people were deceived. Did it mean by coining no silver that we should 
thereby make no discrimination against either metal ? Did the plat 
form mean that we should first cut off the coinage of silver and then 
show no discrimination, but coin equally of both ? After that, when 
the platform said, " That the dollar unit of all coinage of both metals 
must be of equal intrinsic and exchangeable value," did it mean that 
we must first reduce by hostile legislation the intrinsic or bullion value 
of silver so low as to render the carrying out of that pledge an impos 
sibility ? And when it says that this intrinsic and interchangeable value 
is "to be adjusted through international agreement," did it mean that 
we should first increase the disparity to the extent of making silver 
worth only about 30 cents an ounce, or 40 to i of gold, in order to 



266 LIFE OF VANCE. 

facilitate the task of getting foreign nations to agree to coin it with us 
at 15^ to i ? 

And failing in that, when the platform goes on to say, " or by such 
safeguards of legislation as shall insure the maintenance of the parity 
of the two metals in equal power of every dollar at all times in the 
markets and in the payment of debts," did it mean that these legisla 
tive safeguards should be applied whilst the silver dollar was still 
alive, so as to help to maintain its parity with gold, or after its coinage 
was stopped and its intrinsic value was reduced so that it was virtually 
dead t Was it an invitation to the nuptial ceremonies of the two metals, 
or was it a notice to attend the funeral of silver ? And did it mean 
that it should be good in payment of the public debts, or only debts 
among private parties and the small fry ? 

Was that a wink with a golden eye to the bondholder and a broad, 
silver smile to the common people, who love the old dollar ? And 
when the platform denounced the Sherman law as " a cowardly make 
shift," did it mean a makeshift for free coinage of silver, or the use of 
gold ? a makeshift for bimetallism or monometallism ? " Under 
which king, Bezonian ? Speak or die ! " [Laughter.] 

If the framers of that plank meant that it was a cowardly make 
shift for the free coinage of silver, is not the bill for its repeal, without 
a line in its place, a greater coward and a worse makeshift ? Is not the 
coinage of 54,000,000 ounces per annum nearer to free coinage than the 
coining of none ? If it was meant that it was a cowardly makeshift for 
gold monometallism, is not the language of the platform itself both a 
cowardly and a lying makeshift for the truth ? 

Finally, if the language of the platform taken altogether means 
only that we are to oblige the bankers, bondholders and stockbrokers 
first, by unconditional repeal of the Sherman law, accompanied only 
by a short stump speech in the belly of the act, saying that it is our 
policy at some future time the Lord knows when to do something 
further the Lord knows what [laughter] in the direction of carry 
ing out the other promises of the platform are not the makers and 
upholders of that declaration of policy and purposes open to the 
charge of insincerity and of so framing words as to deceive the people 
whose suffrage they were seeking ? 

If such an interpretation of the platform as is contended for here 
by those who will vote for repeal, and presumably by the President, 
had been announced during the campaign of last year, I am quite sure 
Mr. Cleveland would not have carried my State by 50,000 votes, and I 
believe he could not have carried a single, solitary electoral vote south 
of the Potomac River not one. But it is said that there is no aban 
donment of the Chicago platform in the unconditional repeal of the 
Sherman law, but only a postponement, and that the bill itself con 
tains a reaffirmation of those promises. 

Mr. President, I wonder if in any of our political literature, rich 



LIFE OF VANCE. 267 

as it is in ingenuity and device, full as it is of eloquence and true 
genius, overburdened as it is with every conceivable and inconceivable 
form of wildcatism and humbuggery which a hundred years of free 
government, wherein men of all opinions have had a chance to venti 
late them, have produced I wonder, I say, if anything is to be found 
on all its pages approaching in absurdity to the incorporating in this 
bill of a part of the Chicago platform ? Was there ever a cat trotting 
through the tangled thickets of the Alleghenies, or roaming over the 
barren wilds of the Rocky Mountains, so wild and untamable as this 
cat ? [Laughter.] Was there ever any bug discovered and classified 
by science with a hum equal to the hum of this bug ? [Laughter.] 

The representatives of the Democratic party assembled in conven 
tion in Chicago in 1892, as they had done in St. Louis in 1888, and be 
fore that in Chicago in 1884, and made certain pledges to the people 
that they would make certain financial reforms if the people would 
only put them in power where they could enact laws. Among other 
things, the last convention held at Chicago pledged the American 
Democracy that if intrusted with pow r er they would enact such laws as 
would repeal the Sherman act secure us the use of both gold and sil 
ver in our currency coin it on equal terms, and maintain the parity 
of the two. These promises were contained in one paragraph, and 
consistently with good faith are not separable. They constituted a 
scheme by which the financial policy of the country was to be re 
formed, and honor and fair dealing require it to be carried out 
together. 

Well, the people trusted and believed ; the Democrats were put 
in power, and Mr. Cleveland, though known to be personally hostile 
to the use of silver, was elected because the people believed that he 
would carry out in good faith the promises made for him in the plat 
form, and to which he had acceded in his letter of acceptance. 

For the first time in thirty-three years the Democratic party was 
intrusted with the power of enacting laws. Now, in fulfillment of 
these promises, the first thing which is done is to yield to the clamor 
of the capitalists hostile to silver, and anticipate the regular session of 
Congress for the sole purpose of stopping the coinage of silver and 
nothing more. 

Accordingly, the House, hastening to obey, has sent such a bill 
over to this body, and anticipating its action, the Finance Committee 
had introduced a similar bill for its repeal, so that we have two bills 
pending before us on the subject of the Sherman law, and the repeal 
is likely to be carried out in some shape. By the way, I have never 
known a Senator more anxious for the undoing of that action than 
that Senator. It is a confession that he is wrong and it is an appeal 
from his conscience and seems to say to the court, " Hurry up, judge ; 
I am a great criminal ; let there be no delay ; do not even let the jury 
have water." [Laughter.] 



268 LIFE OF VANCE. 

But what about the remainder of the platform ? The same bill 
almost the same strokes of the same pen could have inserted an addi 
tional provision looking in the direction of coining silver on equal 
terms with gold, maintaining its parity, etc. But instead of that we 
give the stockbrokers and the gamblers and the banks by this bill all 
they want, and we put off the American people with still another 
promise. We pay the gold bugs cash and pay the people with another 
paper promise redeemable at the option of the makers. [Laughter.] 

Now, if the promises at Chicago were not good, how would the 
promises inserted in the law become any better. It might, indeed, be 
good for another promise, and so on an infinitum, as we see tickets 
on steamboats sometimes, " Good for six days at the bar ;" only there 
the drinks are paid for already. 

How long are we to postpone the people ? How long dare we do 
it ? No one says what we are to give them in fulfillment of our 
pledges after repeal. There is no intimation that anything more is to 
be given in the message which the President addressed to us ; not a 
whisper. 

He does intimate a little that in due time we will take hold of the 
McKinley tariff law, but as for anything more for silver say nothing 
but good of the dead. Requiescat in pace, "or words to that effect." 
[Laughter.] 

Even those promises contained in the bill given in renewal are of 
so general a nature that they may be easily evaded as amounting to 
nothing definite. In a court of law they would be held void for un 
certainty. If it is really our intention to enact these laws as we 
promised, why not do it now ? 

We are in possession of the entire lawmaking department of the 
government. The same power which can enact this bill into a law 
could so enact other things promised, if only "Barkis is willin ." In 
fact, there would be a greater power in the hands of the Democracy if 
this bill were coupled with provisions carrying out the platform, for, 
in that case, I do not suppose there is a Democrat in either House 
that would refuse to support it. I repeat, if we are in good faith, why 
not do it now ? " Now is the accepted time," and " now is the day of 
salvation ; " " to-day, if you will hear the voice of the people, harden 
not your hearts" "here is water, what doth hinder me to be 
baptized?" 

Is it to be done hereafter ? Who says so with authority to speak ? 
Who says so with authority to give an assurance that it can be done at 
all if postponed ? Is it not about all many can do to give assurance of 
their own votes a little way ahead ? How do we know that when 
some other bill comes up for the benefit of capital these threadbare 
and contemptible promises to pay will not pop up again like Jack-in- 
a-box as a substitute for the performance ? If we let go what we have 
before we get something else in exchange, how shall we justify our- 



UFE OF VANCE. 269 

selves to that portion of our constituents who are supposed to have 
common sense ? Why can not the bankers and stockbrokers wait for 
the repeal of the Sherman law until the remaining legislation which 
we have promised to enact shall be prepared and ready ? 

The last excuse for its repeal, except the true one, which they do 
not give, has been knocked from under them. They know it did not 
take gold from this country, because in the face of their protestations 
they see that gold is returning in obedience to well-known laws of 
trade, and all that they now hang upon is that they have not " confi 
dence " in the government of their country that it will redeem its 
obligations in gold. That is equally false as the other ; they know 
that every dollar that is due from the government of the United 
States that is properly and honestly redeemable in gold coin will be so 
redeemed. They see the Secretary of the Treasury, with the approval 
of the President, every day redeeming silver obligations in gold, even 
where his discretion permits him to redeem in silver. 

Now, if asked why I can not trust the future for the enactment of 
those laws which ought to come concurrent with the repeal of the 
Sherman act, my answer and with much more truth than theirs is, 
I have no confidence. When a man promises me that if I will put him 
in a position which will enable him to do so he will pay me a thousand 
dollars, and when I have performed my part of the contract and put 
him in that position and he refuses to pay me, and applies his money 
to some other purpose, and proposes to promise me the same thing 
again, I refuse to accept his promise as that of an honest and respon 
sible man ; my confidence is gone. 

The Senator from Georgia [Mr. Gordon] who the other day en 
tertained us with a very eloquent, speech with a most illogical con 
clusion, demanding to know why we halt between conditional and 
unconditional repeal. He says : 

"If the friends of bimetallism are strong enough to impose condi 
tions on the repealing bill, will not that same strength suffice to enact 
bimetallism in a separate bill ?" 

Mr. President, I will tell you why I halt between conditional and 
unconditional repeal. Unconditional repeal is unconditional surren 
der. In the first place, by conditional repeal we unite the Democratic 
party, or at least all true friends of bimetallism. I know that they all 
came here, as I did, hoping, praying, that some compromise could be 
found between them and the President, the chief of our party, by 
which they could stand with him. By the proposition of unconditional 
repeal that is impossible. 

In the next place, if we repeal without doing other things 
which we promised the people at Chicago we would do, neither 
that Senator nor any other can give assurance that these other 
things will ever become a law in separate bills. The Senator 
must know that every gold mononietallist in the House voted 



270 UFE OF VANCE. 

for unconditional repeal as everyone in this body will, and against 
the coinage of another silver dollar at any ratio whatever in 
cluding the resurrection of the Bland- Allison act of coining 2,000,000 a 
month. Where then can be found evidence of the strength for a sep 
arate bill, favorable to silver in that body ? It has been tested ; ours 
has not. And should such a bill pass that body and this one, can that 
Senator give us any assurance that it would not meet its death blow 
elsewhere ? We have every reason, as he has, to know that it would; 
therefore, as it seems to me, to vote for unconditional repeal, in the 
face of these undeniable facts, amounts to an unconditional surrender, 
a giving up of the cause of silver, which we all profess to love, and an 
abandonment of our promises to the people that we would do every 
thing to maintain it that was necessary to be done by legislation. The 
Senator also says that it is perfectly immaterial whether the panic was 
caused by legitimate arguments or was caused by the machinations of 
designing men ; he says the results are upon us and we must deal with 
them. 

It is quite true, Mr. President, that if the panic is upon us we must 
do the best we can to evade its dangerous consequences ; but if there 
should be any suspicion, as he intimates there is, that it was produced 
by designing men for a manifest purpose, it strikes me that it is neither 
prudent nor agreeable to common sense for us to hasten to do the very 
thing which the designing men have designed. It simply means this, 
as put by the Senator : Some people say there is a pit dug hereabouts 
to entrap us. Now, it is perfectly immaterial to me whether there is 
any pit here or not. I am going to jump in anyway. If there is no pit 
there, all right ; if there is one, when I plunge in I will know it. 

Now, these Senators who sacrifice their cherished convictions for 
the taking of this leap, it seems to me, must be under a great panic, 
indeed. The gallant gentleman was not wont to be stampeded by the 
popping of a cap. I can not refrain from quoting some of the elo 
quence of that Senator, which meets not only with my approbation, 
but highest admiration as a literary performance : 

"Mr. President, I come now to our next promise to place gold and 
silver upon the same footing. It is safe to say, I think, that bimetal 
lism was the most popular, if not the most potential, factor in the last 
campaign. It was the one plank common to all national platforms. It 
was the one force which made itself felt under all conditions and placed 
its seal on every party s banner." 

That is true. He then goes on to say : 

"It is true, sir, that these protestations and promises antedated 
the election ; and it may be interesting hereafter to compare votes in 
Congress with votes in conventions, or party action in Congress with 
party promises in platforms. I fear, sir, that the contrast would put 
to shame the wonder-inspiring patent-medicine advertisment, Before 
and after taking. " 



LIFE OF VANCE. 271 

Mr. President, I am greatly tempted to say that I fear the Senator 
from Georgia has digged a pit into which he will fall himself when he 
votes for unconditional repeal, and that his course will be condemned 
out of his own mouth. " And I," said the wild-eyed, long-haired man, 
who accompanied the temperance lecturer, " I goes along to serve as a 
frightful example." [Laughter.] 

I will not be stampeded into giving this death blow to silver. If the 
emergency of the time be so great as to call for concessions on the part 
of the silver men, it is also necessary that the gold men should con 
cede something. Giving and taking is fair, but when one side is to do 
all the giving and the other side gives nothing in return then it amounts 
to a surrender. 

I do not believe in half the allegations of public distress and dan 
ger which are constantly thrust upon us. I believe that in thirty days 
from this time all obstructions to the business of our country will have 
passed away. The financial papers all say now that the worst is over, 
and from day to day they cite from every quarter of the country evi 
dence of renewed activity and returning business. 

The Financier of New York, a paper, I presume of high authority 
in bank circles, announced day before yesterday that the banks of New 
Orleans, Memphis, Mobile, Galveston, and other places in the South 
report that there will be currency sufficient to move the cotton crop. 
Like a gorge of ice in a river, once the first obstructing block breaks 
loose, the whole mass begins to move and the blockade is gone. Let 
my good and valued friend from Georgia take heart, and stand by the 
object of his love and mine a little while longer. To insist upon repeal 
right now, in the face of the admitted fact that the Sherman law is not 
the cause of the trouble which the country is feeling, is an acknowl 
edgement that it can not be repealed without some substitute in cold 
blood and in times of reasonable prosperity. It must be done now 
right now, or not at all. 

Suppose, sir, that we were to take these promises in the bill that 
at some day the remainder of the platform will be carried out, what 
assurance have we that a bill to provide for either the free coinage or 
the limited coinage of silver could become a law ? Is there any indi 
cation by any vote of the House of Representatives upon the passage 
of the bill that such a bill would meet its approbation ? Is there any 
thing in the message of the President or in all his public utterances, or 
is there any spokesman here authorized to speak for him who can give 
us his assurance that such a bill would meet his approbation ? 

Mr. President, we know that it would not become a law ; and it 
strikes me, sir, that to permit the passage of this bill without attach 
ing some other legislation to it knowing that that other legislation 
could not be secured independently and by itself that we consciously 
surrender and turn our backs upon all the pledges we have made to 
the people. It strikes me, sir, that if we do this we must do it with 



2 72 UFE OF VANCE. 

our eyes open to the consequences ; we must do it knowing that we 
are subjecting ourselves to the serious accusations of our constituents. 
It seems to me, sir, that the great Democratic party, which I have 
always supported because I believed it to be not only correct in its 
theories of government, but devoted to the interests of the common 
people, the masses of the land it seems to me, I say, that if we pass 
this bill now unconditionally, that this great party will then cease to 
be the people s friend and become the subservient tool of combined 
capital, and will constitute itself in its legislation the lineal and legit- 
mate successor of the thirty-three years of that Republican rule which 
we have always heretofore denounced as building up the combinations 
and corporations which have well-nigh absorbed the wealth of our 
country. 

I speak plainly upon this subject, Mr. President, because I feel 
deeply, I am too old I have been too long in public life, I have been 
too greatly trusted and honored by the people of my State to make 
myself a party now to anything which appears to me may be construed 
as a want of faith to public professions. 

Let Senators consider for a moment the hopelessness of securing 
further legislation if it can not be secured in conjunction with this 
repeal. If capital is once satisfied by the repeal, then to trust to its 
influence to secure what we want what the people want is just an 
appeal to the bowels of omniverous Mammon. As well might we 
appeal to the mercy of the hungry tiger, as well might we deprecate 
the unsatisfiable appetite of the tape-worm. 

The people know this, Mr. President. Of course I impugn the 
motives of no Senator ; they are as honest as I am, I hope; if they are 
then they are fairly honest men [laughter] ; but I am obliged to 
impeach the judgment of those who would take this course. I think 
it a sad and fatal mistake. The honest way is the best way, as we all 
agree, if we can find it, and it seems to me the fairest way of interpret 
ing this platform is to construe it as the people understood it as we 
taught them to understand it, through the press and upon the hustings 
and in every way by which we urged the campaign, and as I believe its 
authors honestly intended it to be understood, and that was to repeal 
the purchasing act and do all other things necessary toward the pres 
ervation and upholding of silver money before or concurrently with 
the abolition of its only hold on life. I think the carrying out of the 
first pledge and stopping would make the redemption of the others 
impossible and the whole scheme look like a fraud. 

What shall those other things be ? If I could have my preference, 
one should be the free and unlimited coinage of silver money at a 
ratio of 16 to i. Is this an impossibility ? Far from it. The mistake 
of the Sherman law was that it was only a partial coinage of silver, 
and therefore still left a large quantity of metal on the market for 
which there was no demand, and which only served to constantly drag 



LIFE OF VANCE. 273 

down the bullion price. I believe the power and resources and wealth 
of this land to be sufficient to coin and keep afloat on a parity with 
gold all the silver of the world which would probably come to it to be 
coined. 

The price of any article, of course, depends upon the demand for 
it and the supply. The chief demand for silver, as of gold, is and has 
been its character as a metal of which money is made. It is not the 
use that is made of it in the arts that gives it its chief values, but the 
fact that it is used as money in all nations of the world to a greater or 
less amount. When you destroy it as a money metal you take away 
the chief demand for it, and, of course, lower its price. 

Now, supposing, what is hardly supposable, that when we estab 
lish free coinage at the ratio of 16 to I, that all the silver of the world, 
coined and uncoined, were pouring into the United States, in a very 
short time all the nations which use subsidiary coin would be out of 
silver , all the nations which use silver as a full legal tender, and all 
the peoples of the world who use silver in the arts and for industrial 
purposes, would find themselves in the same condition, and would 
have to come to the United States for their supply of silver. They 
could buy it from no man here for less than its coining value ; there 
fore, throughout the world, it would at once become equal to gold, 
and it would follow that we would soon have to supply the demand 
for it every country. 

So soon as its bullion price began to approach that of gold, the 
latter would come half-way down to meet silver going up, then it would 
rapidly flow out to supply the coin demand of the world, which would 
once more become bimetallic, as it was twenty years ago. No man 
possessed of any silver in other countries would sell it for less than 
the coining price in America, and so England would have to pay for 
the silver with which she supplies India the coining price in the 
United States, and India would be compelled to be supplied with 
silver, for there is not $900,000,000 of spare gold in the world to 
replace India s silver money. 

It is said that the production would be so great if there was free 
coinage and silver was at its normal price per ounce that the world 
would soon be flooded with it. I do not believe that. There is nothing 
in the statistics to show that that would be the case. During the 
period of one hundred years, from 1792 to 1892, the production of gold 
in the world was $5,633,908,000 the production of silver was $5,104,- 
961,000, a difference of only about $500,000,000 and that in favor of 
gold ; and we might go further back if the insufficient statistics of the 
Dark Ages could be depended upon, and show generally that the pro 
duction of the two metals would average about the same. 

For what reason is it held, then, that this ratio of production of 
the two metals will not continue to the end ? Is not nature consistent 
with herself? If the digging into the earth for 4,000 years have 

19 



274 UFK OF VANCE. 

shown that there exists in her bosom on the average about fifteen 
times as much silver by weight as of gold, why should we doubt fu 
ture development from an accidental departure now and then of 
either metal from the average proportion of forty centuries ? 

Surely the gold-standard men should give a better reason for dis 
trusting nature than some bankers "want of confidence." 

A great impetus was given to silver in the era immediately fol 
lowing the discovery of America and the opening of the famous mines 
of Mexico and South America. Discoveries of gold at the same time 
kept that metal pretty well up with silver. 

A great impetus was also given to gold by the discoveries in Cali 
fornia and Australia, which made gold forge largely ahead of silver in 
the amount of production ; and this continued, making silver at a pre 
mium above gold, until within the last twenty years, when the devel 
opment of the mines in Colorado and Nevada have put silver ahead in 
the amount of production. 

The production of silver in the United States in the past fiscal 
year, measured by its coining value, was $74,989,900 ; its market value, 
$50,750,000, whilst the production of gold was $33,000,000. Of this 
sum nearly one-half of the gold was used in the arts, or $16,616,000, 
while of silver there was used in the arts more than one-eighth, or 
$9,106,000, leaving altogether of gold and silver for currency purposes 
only $81,000,000 for that year, of which about $64,000,000 was silver. 
A large amount of this was exported to supply other countries. The 
total silver production of the world in 1892 was $196,605,000, in round 
numbers. 

I have no reliable estimate of the amount of silver used in the 
world per annum for industrial purposes, but I have never seen it 
stated at less than 27 per cent., and I do not think that far out of the 
way ; if anything, it is under that mark. This would make in the 
neighborhood of $53,000,000 of the annual production of the world, 
leaving something near $143,000,000 for currency purposes. This 
would give us about $143,000,000 of silver per annum to dispose of, 
provided we adopt the free coinage and all of the silver of the world 
should come here except that which is used in the arts. 

But we know that this is not reasonable or possible ; we know 
that the subsidiary coinage of foreign countries would not come here, 
and that much silver would be required to supply that. We know 
that much more of it would be required to coin silver in those coun 
tries where it is still legal tender, and, inasmuch as the price would 
go up to the coining value in the United States, we know that that 
fact would induce many nations to coin [more and make it a legal 
tender. 

Mr. President, I always have believed that if we were to resort to 
the free coinage of silver we should have very little more silver to 
dispose of than we have had to dispose of under the purchases of the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 275 

Sherman law ; and I always have believed that under that law, if sil 
ver had had a fair trial by a friendly government and friendly offi 
cials, there would not this day have been the outcry against it that 
there is, and it would not have been held up as a sample of what our 
danger would be if we resorted to free coinage. 

The idea so sedulously put forth that we can not give silver or 
anything else a value by law is false. I fancy there is not a manu 
facturer in the United States who has grown rich by high tariff who 
accedes to that proposition. It is true the law of supply and demand 
controls the bullion price of silver as of other things, but it is also 
true that the demand is in the control of the government. Silver has 
never at any time time within the last hundred years fallen in conse 
quence of more being produced than there was any demand for it 
has always been depreciated by legislation which reduced the de 
mand. 

In the time when the world was filled with gold from the mines 
of Australia and California there was no unfriendly legislation against 
gold, therefore it depreciated very little. The increase of enterprises, 
enlarged commerce, and production absorbed it all, as I have said, 
and the world was benefitted thereby. So, but for unfriendly legisla 
tion, would it be with silver. If every dollar dug out of the earth 
was immediately coined and put in circulation, it would impart the 
same activity to the world s industries, and would in the same way 
stimulate its energies, that the great production of gold did. 

It is also lamentably true, as our people can testify to their sor 
row, that every time a blow has been stricken at their silver money 
it has also stricken the price of their wheat, their cotton, and their 
grain, and everything else they had to sell. The most reliable En 
glish authorities that I have consulted say "that from the year 1873, 
when in consequence of the demonetization of silver in the United 
States and in Germany, the prices of goods began to fall, and amounts 
at this time on the average of goods to about 7 shillings to the pound, 
or one-third, with every prospect of that fall continuing." The same 
authority, John Hill Twigg, says that "the only protective means of 
stopping this fall, is to restore the old law of coining silver as freely 
as gold and let people pay their debts in either metal at the choice of 
the debtor." 

Mr. Cockrell Will it interrupt the Senator to give a state 
ment of the production and coinage of gold and silver of the principal 
countries of the world from 1873 to 1892 ? 

Mr. Vance I do not know that it would, sir. I have almost 
concluded, and if the Senator will permit me I will take his statement 
and insert it as a part of my remarks. 

Mr. Cockrell I was going to read the statement. 

Mr. Vance Very well. 

Mr. Cockrell The production of gold was $2,210,961,206, while 



276 LIFE OF VANCK. 

the coinage of gold was 12,787,714,679, or 1576,753,473 more than 
the entire production of gold. The production of silver was $2,400,- 
760,533, while the coinage of silver in the world during the same 
period was 12,322,603,351, leaving only about $78,000,000 of silver un 
coined during the whole time. 

Mr. Vance I am much obliged to the Senator for his state 
ment. It is in the line of my remarks. 

An ingenuous writer in the Journal of American Politics for Sep 
tember, 1893, Mr. George Canning Hill, estimates upon a very reason 
able basis that the loss of Southern planters on cotton alone, from 
1873 to 1890, has been at least $83,000.000 per year, or $1,410,000,000 in 
seventeen years. For the same period he estimates the loss of the 
wheat-growers of the United States at $100,000,000 per annum, or $i,- 
700,000,000 for the seventeen years. These are samples of what has 
been inflicted on the people by the wicked war on silver money ; and 
the estimate may be continued by a consideration of all other leading 
articles of production of field and forest and mine. 

Nor is gold more stable as a standard than silver. Hear what a 
distinguished English statesman says. Mr. Balfour, in October, 1892, 
used the following wise and timely language, showing that gold is 
less stable than silver : 

But there is another point, namely, the utility of our monetary 
system as a permanent record of debts and obligations, lasting 
through long periods of time. Can we claim that great quality for a 
standard which monometallists admit has appreciated in some fifteen 
to sixteen years no less than 30 to 35 per cent., and of whose appre 
ciation no man living can prophesy the limits ? A monetary standard 
of which this can be said does not fulfill the very elementary qualities 
which we require in a monetary standard. 

I have no desire for inflation. Give me a standard that will re 
main constant and I ask no more, but do not put me off with a stand 
ard which rises 35 per cent, in fifteen or sixteen years. If I have to 
choose, if I am given the unwelcome choice between a standard 
which appreciates and a standard which depreciates, between a sys 
tem under which prices are lowered and a system under which prices 
are raised, then, in the interest of every class in the community, not 
excluding the owners of fixed debts, give me a standard which depre 
ciates and give me prices which rise. 

Of all conceivable systems of currency that system is assuredly 
the worst which gives you a standard steadily, continuously, and in 
definitely appreciating, and which, by that very fact, throws a burden 
on every man who desires to promote the agricultural or industrial 
welfare of his country, and benefits no human being whatever, except 
the owner of fixed debts in gold. 

It is a well-known fact that greater fluctuations in the supply of 
gold have been experienced in the history of the two metals than has 



LIFE OF VANCE. 277 

ever occurred to silver. From 1851 to 1871, a period of twenty years 
alone, the gold produced in California an d Australia amounted, by 
careful estimate, to at least $2,500,000,000, a sum that was about equal 
to the world s stock already on hand. In twenty years the gold sup 
ply of the world was doubled a thing that never happened to sil 
ver yet the whole of it was quickly absorbed in the circulation of the 
world, and no attempt was made to demonetize gold. There were a 
few men, about as wise in their generation as those who have recently 
tried to degrade silver, who did speak of demonetizing gold ; but it 
was not done, except in one or two small European States. 

It is strange to me that this is not perceptible to every thinking 
man, and it is still stranger to me that men will undertake to prove 
the impossibility of our maintaining the value and parity with gold 
of an honored silver dollar supported by the law and pledged faith of 
a great nation, by constantly citing the example of the difficulty of 
maintaining a discredited and abused dollar with all the world and its 
own government at the head denouncing it as dishonest. 

We must take into consideration, also, in arriving at a fair conclusion 
on this subject, the possibility of maintaining silver on a free coinage 
basis, that even should the supply of silver supposed to exist in our 
mines within reach of the miners be as great as it is alleged to be, yet 
the total production would not keep pace with the increase of the 
population, of commerce, of railroad lines, the growth of cotton, of 
grain, or of pig iron in the United States. To calculate upon a supply 
of silver or anything else upon the basis that population and human 
energy will stand still in our country is, of course erroneous. I reckon, 
likewise, it will have to be admitted that in regard to stability silver, 
measured by the chief products of commerce, has been infinitely more 
stable than gold, and these staple products are the true measurers of 
both gold and silver and not one for the other. 

Complaint is sometimes made in this Chamber, as elsewhere, of 
the hardship attending the fact that capitalists have to be governed 
like other people, and that it is hard for a man s earnings or accumu- 
tions to be subjected to the casualties and incidents of a presidential 
or congressional election. There seems to be an idea that, so far as 
capital is concerned, Prince Bismarck was right when he said that 
" man could not be governed from below." 

And a Mr. Horace White, who assumes to be an authority on 
financial questions, said in the Forum of August, 1893, that it was 
perhaps happy for a people like India that its high finances should be 
directed only by a few, all of which means that the man who has only 
a debased silver dollar or a token so-cent coin in the world should not 
be permitted, through his Representatives here, to have any say in the 
laws which are required to govern capital, or, in other words, he 
should not be allowed to dabble in "high finance." I do not subscribe 
to such doctrines. If we are Democrats we will not believe it or utter 



278 LIFE OF VANCE. 

it, but try to treat every man as having an interest in this government 
and a right to participate therein, and endeavor with all our power to 
educate him in his great duties. 

Mr. President, I fancy that those who are shouting over the action 
of the House of Representatives in passing the bill to repeal this law 
without conditions, and are glorifying the President for calling us 
together and giving us a message containing no recommendation except 
to repeal this law I fancy they little know what is before them. The 
doctrines of Prince Bismarck and Horace White have not yet become 
a part of the common law of America ; thank God, there remain others 
to be consulted besides those professors of " high finance." 

It was said that the string of the bow of Ulysses warned him of 
approaching danger by singing a song of battle and of strife. Let me 
say to those conspirators against the welfare of the common people, 
that before they shall finally succeed in their unhallowed designs, 
and drive them through " the valley of the shadow of death " to attain 
the single gold standard, in order that the conspirators may grow rich 
on human suffering, they will see many a field of political battle and 
hear the roar of much political strife. 

In this fair land the thunderbolts of Jove dwell still with those 
whose voice is as the voice of God, and the bow of Ulysses is yet in 
the people s hands, and its quiver is filled with death-dealing darts. 
Its strings will yet sing many a song of battle to awaken the sleeping 
people, and upon every plain and in every valley and upon every 
mountain side, from shore to shore of our inclosing seas, they will 
spring to their feet at the calling of that music, with a light of conflict 
on their faces and the resolve of victory in their hearts. In that day 
it would be better for some of those who have joined in the fight 
against the money of the poor, "that a millstone had been hanged 
about their necks and they had been cast into the midst of the sea." 

Many a defeated statesman of this great fight, when he looks into 
the faces of those who overthrew him in that strife, will be surprised 
to behold not the faces of his old political enemies, but those of his 
own indignant neighbors and heretofore friends, who will say to him, 
" We followed your example ; we loved you and believed the best way 
to serve you was to kill you." 

Surely the fountains of the great deep of humanity are broken up 
and the hearts of men are stirred within them as they have never 
been stirred before since the civil war. The great fight is on ; the 
power of money and its allies throiighout the world have entered into 
this conspiracy to perpetrate the " greatest crime of this or any other 
age," to overthrow one-half of the world s money, and thereby double 
their own wealth by the enhancing in value of the other half, which 
is in their hands. 

The money changers are polluting the temple of our liberties. 
" To your tents, O Israel ! " [Applause in the galleries.] 



LIFE OF VANCE. 279 



CHAPTER XVII. 

HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE FARMERS ALLIANCE. 

Always Friend of the Farmers Advised Organization, but Gave Warn 
ing Against Entering Politics Falsely Accused of Knuckling to 
the Alliance Opposed Sub-Treasury Scheme So Stated on In 
troducing the Bill Letter to Beddingneld Letter to Carr, Presi 
dent State Alliance Correspondence as to Duty to Obey Instruc 
tions Refusal to Accept Nomination on the Demands as Instruc 
tions Modified Resolutions Passed to Suit His Views Letters 
from Sam l L. Patterson and Ex-Governor Jarvis Vance s Address 
to the People in September, 1892 Prophetic Views His Letter to 
Elliott, President Mecklenburg County Alliance His Reasons 
His Consistency His Argument Against the Constitutionality of 
the Sub-Treasury Scheme. 

ANCE S course in reference to the Farmers Alliance 
has been the subject of much criticism even among 
his warmest friends and supporters. Many hard things 
were said about him in the newspapers of his own party, 
giving him very great pain and annoyance. He was 
charged with knuckling to the Alliance in order to keep 
them in line for him that he might retain his place in the 
Senate. He was accused of playing fast and loose with 
the Sub-Treasury scheme and of being inconsistent and in 
sincere, introducing a bill in its behalf and then failing to 
push it or support it. And some of his critics went so far 
as to say he had gone back on the professions and prin 
ciples of a lifetime in his efforts to retain the friendship 
and support of the Alliance in the parlance of the day, 
that he "ate dirt copiously " before the Alliance Legislature 
of 1891, in promising to support the Alliance doctrines and 
demands in order to get their support, nearly the entire 
Democratic membership of that body being members of the 
Alliance. 

It is strange that, in the light of the actual facts, such 



28o LIFE OF VANCE. 

erroneous impressions should prevail, and that the position 
of a public man who had been so thoroughly open and 
candid as Vance always was, could be so misunderstood and 
misrepresented. 

He was not only not inconsistent in his course towards 
the Alliance, but he never wavered or changed his opinion 
nor in any sense deviated from a direct course of conduct 
from beginning to end. He not only never "got down on 
his knees and ate dirt" to please the Alliance, but when they 
sought to gag him with "demands" which he had from the 
start told them he could not support, he defied them, and 
refused to accept the nomination at their hands, and they, 
were constrained and obliged to modify their instructions so 
as to conform fully to his oft-expressed views. These facts 
will be fully established by what follows. 

It must be borne in mind that he was always in sympathy 
with the masses, the laboring and farming classes, and this 
was in a great measure the secret of his power and popularity 
with them. Seeing the drift and tendency of economic 
conditions and firmly believing that the protective tariff 
was enriching the few and impoverishing the many, he had 
been for years advising the farmers to organize in order to 
defend themselves against the organizations of various 
kinds among the non-producers adverse in their objects and 
tendencies to the interests of the farmers; still he warned 
them again and again of the danger of such organization 
becoming political, and with prophetic wisdom he predicted 
the ruinous consequences of any attempt on their part to 
set up a new political party. He firmly believed after early 
and careful investigation that the sub-treasury scheme as con 
tended for by the Alliance was unconstitutional as well as 
impracticable, and he said so repeatedly and emphatically. 
Nor did he favor the purchase by the Government of the 
railroads and telegraph lines, nor the abolition of national 
banks till a suitable substitute could be provided, and he 
expressed his views as to these features of the "demands" 



LIFE OF VANCE. 28 1 

equally without reserve. He agreed with the Alliance, or 
rather it agreed with him, in favor of the free coinage of 
silver, an increase of the volume of currency, and in 
opposing a monopoly on part of the National Banks of the 
privilege of issuing paper money and the consequent power 
to expand and contract the currency at will. And these 
opinions and views he uttered with like candor and 
emphasis; indeed they were the principles which he had been 
contending for throughout his political career of the past 
ten years or more. 

On February 24th, 1890, he introduced in the Senate a 
bill embracing the Sub-Treasury plan, stating that he did 
so by request. He did this as he stated afterwards, at the 
request of Col. Polk and Dr. Macune, of the legislative 
committee of the Alliance, and he told them at the time 
that they must not infer any agreement on his part to sup 
port the bill ; that it was such a radical departure from the 
usual course of legislation, and involved matters of such 
grave and serious import that he should reserve the ques 
tion of its practicability as well as constitutionality. Yet 
he was friendly to the objects and purposes of the bill as 
outlined above, and was anxious to have legislation passed 
adequate to promote such objects. Hence he procured the 
reference of the bill to the committee on Agriculture, in 
stead of that on Finance, where it would have gone under 
the rules, as a means of getting as friendly consideration 
for it as possible, and he procured for Messrs. Polk and 
Macune an opportunity to go before that committee and 
discuss its merits to their entire satisfaction. It is also 
evident that he sought to have the bill reported from the 
committee either favorably or otherwise in the hope that its 
discussion might lead to the evolution of a bill that would 
accomplish the objects sought, to-wit: financial reform, in 
a way that would be free from constitutional objections. 
The following letter to Mr. Beddingfield, secretary of the 
Alliance, contains Vance s earliest utterances on the sub- 



282 UFE OF VANCE. 

ject and shows the candor and unreserve with which he 
expressed his opinions on the Sub-Treasury and kindred 

topics, viz : 

WASHINGTON, D. C., May i8th, 1890. 
E. C. Bedding fie Id, Esq., Raleigh, N. C. 

DEAR SIR Whenever I have carefully formed an opinion upon a 
public matter I have no objection to making it known to every one 
having a right to require it. In answer, therefore, to your letter of 
i6th inst., asking my opinion on several important subjects, I have to 
say as follows: To inquiry one, I answer that I am not in favor of 
the abolition of national banks and the issue of legal tender notes in the 
place of their notes, in the present state of our financial polic} r . But 
I do favor permitting them to bank upon gold and silver coin instead 
of bonds and I do favor the making of all money a legal tender which 
is issued by the Government. To your second inquiry, I answer that 
I do not favor the passage of a law by Congress prohibiting dealing in 
futures, in agricultural products, &c., for the reason that Congress 
has no power to pass such a law. I should be glad, however, to see 
the practice regulated or suppressed by the States. In answer to your 
third inquiry, I have to say that I favor placing silver, in every respect, 
on precisely the same footing as gold, and shall so vote. In answer 
to your fourth question, I have to say, I favor the prohibiting of alien 
ownership of the public lands and always have done so, and also the 
prevention of railroads and other corporations from holding more real 
estate than is actually required for their legitimate purposes. This is 
a matter that requires both State and Congressional action. In an 
swer to your sixth question, I have to say that for some time past I 
have advocated here the issuance by the government of fractional pa 
per currency for the convenience of transmission through the mails, 
etc. In answer to your seventh question, I have to say that I have not 
definitely formed any opinion of the propriety of the government tak 
ing control of the railroads and telegraph lines. My inclination is de 
cidedly against it. In answer to your eighth question, as to my opin 
ion of what is called the sub-Treasury or warehouse bill, I have this 
to say: I am in favor not of this particular bill (for it is crude and im 
perfect) but of the principles of the bill, provided it be not established 
that it is unconstitutional. I am prepared and intend to go as far in 
the relief of the farmers, to compensate them for the losses suffered 
under unequal and unjust tariff laws, as my oath to support the Con 
stitution will permit me. Whether it be constitutional or not I am 
not now prepared to say. It is a great departure in our financial policy 
and will require careful and elaborate examination. If it were once 
reported from the Committee it would receive thorough discussion 
and the country could see for itself. My hope and earnest wish is that 
the discussion will result in some practical scheme for the relief of our 
farmers in this direction. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 283 

I need not have you go over all the arguments in favor of some 
thing of the kind. 

I write in haste, being on the eve of departure to Charlotte to attend 
the Mecklenburg Celebration and have only briefly, but I hope satis 
factorily, answered your questions. 

Very truly yours, 

Z. B. VANCE. 

A little later on, viz: in June, 1890, Senator Vance, 
having in the mean time, no doubt, more maturely con 
sidered the sub-Treasury plan, wrote the following letter 
to the president of the Farmers Alliance of the State of 
North Carolina, expressing his views in regard to the 
Alliance in order to correct erroneous impressions prevail 
ing and to explicitly state his views and opinions, If it is 
not a candid, explicit, bold and manly statement of his 
opinions in regard to the sub-Treasury and other matters 
of public concern, it is not easy to conceive how the 
English language could make it so. And to those who 
would doubt his loyalty to the Democratic party, attention 
is specially called to his utterances and warnings as to the 
necessity of firmly adhering to that organization : 

SENATE CHAMBER, June 2gth, 1890. 
Elias Carr, Esq., President Farmers Alliance of North Carolina, 

Old Sparta, N. C. 

DEAR SIR So many reports of my position on what is known as 
the sub-Treasury or Farmers Warehouse bill have been circulated in 
our State, and I have received so many letters of enquiry on the sub : 
ject, that I have deemed it my duty to answer them all in this way. 
I write to you as the honored head of the Farmers Alliance of North 
Carolina, and desire in this manner to make known to the people my 
honest opinion on this and cognate subjects. I do this all the more 
readily because I am conscious that I have never, in the course of my 
political life, concealed from the people who have honored me any 
candid conviction in regard to any important public matter. It is too 
late for me now to begin such a course. 

On the 24th of February, 1890, at the request of Col. Iv. Iv. Polk, 
President of the N. F. Alliance and Industrial Union, I introduced in 
the Senate bill 2,806, popularly known as the sub-Treasury bill, and 
procured its reference to the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, 
where it was supposed that it would receive more friendly considera 
tion than from the Committee on Finance, to which it would 



284 LIFE OF VANCE. 

otherwise have gone according to the rules. On receiving it, I told 
both Col. Polk and Dr. Macune, the Chairman of the Legislative Com 
mittee of the Alliance, that I was not prepared to promise them to 
support the bill ; that it was a great and radical departure from the 
accustomed policy of the legislation, and that there were questions 
both of practicability and constitutionality which I wished to reserve. 
I told them also that I hoped for good results from its introduction ; 
and believed that its discussion would attract the attention of the 
country to the condition and wants of the agricultural classes, and if 
this bill was not deemed the proper one, that some other would be 
formulated in the direction of the needed relief. 

I procured an early consideration of the bill by the committee, 
and a very able and most interesting discussion by Messrs. Polk and 
Macune was had. But so far without result. The committee has not 
yet made a report, though I am assured that a majority of its mem 
bers are anxiously seeking to devise a method of relief which shall 
not be open to the objections of that bill. 

My own position remains the same. I can not support this bill in 
its present shape. But I am not opposed to the principle and pur 
poses of the measure. On the contrary, they are those which I have 
for ten years advocated, and for the accomplishment of which I have 
in every county in North Carolina again and again urged the organiz 
ation of farmers, pointing out to them how that all other classes of 
society were organized for the promotion of their separate interests. 
It is a shameful truth, that in the enormous growth of the wealth of 
our country in the last twenty years, the farmers have not propor 
tionately participated. All candid men admit that they have not had 
their full share of the aggregate prosperity of our country. The rea 
son for this is as plain to be seen as any cause for any effect. For a 
quarter of a century the legislation of our country has been notori 
ously in the interest of certain combinations of capital. The manu 
facturers have been protected by enormous duties upon foreign im 
ports, man} of which are absolutely prohibitory. The currency has 
been systematically contracted by the withdrawal of circulation, and 
the demonetization of silver in the interests of bankers, brokers, 
bondholders, and all the creditor class. In this way the inevitable re 
sults have been produced. The enormous wealth of our country has 
become concentrated in the hands of a few. Overgrown fortunes 
have been accumulated by the favored ones, while mortgages have 
been the chief acquisition of the many. The farmer being compelled 
to use his surplus wheat, beef, and cotton in free trade markets of the 
world, was not allowed also to buy his supplies in the same place, but 
was compelled to bring his money home from Europe, and by his iron, 
his clothing, and all his farm supplies from the domestic manufactur 
ers at prices enhanced not only by these enormous tariff duties, but 
likewise by the severe contraction of the currency. What else could 



LIFE OF VANCE. 285 

possibly have followed but indebtedness and bankruptcy for that 
class who had thus to bear the ultimate burdens of the law of econ 
omy, and by which alone the undue riches of one class were secured. 

All efforts to secure the repeal of this outrageous taxation and to 
restore the full use of silver as money having so far proved unavail 
ing, reasonable men are not surprised that the oppressed class of our 
people have at last organized and determined to do something. For 
one, I sympathize most cordially and sincerely with this determina 
tion. Inasmuch as it is impossible to compensate the farmer for the 
robbing of him under this tariff taxation by imposing tariff duties for 
his benefit, also for the reason that similar products to his are not 
imported into this country, the question arises, how shall he be com 
pensated ? If some way be not devised, and we continue to impose 
these tariff taxes on him, we simply admit that he is to be oppressed 
forever, or until he is sent to the poor house, and that whilst we have 
power under the constitution to destroy by taxation one class of citi 
zens, we have neither the power nor the disposition to compensate 
that destroyed class, nor to equalize the burdens of life among the 
people. I never will agree to this, and I stand ready to vote for any 
measure for the relief of the agricultural classes of the community 
that will serve the purpose, asking only that it be within the power 
conferred upon Congress by the Constitution. We live, happily for 
us, in a government of limited powers, but because, as I believe, the 
present tariff duties are utterly unconstitutional, and but "robbery 
under the forms of law." I cannot gain my consent to vote for this 
sub-Treasury bill which provides for the loaning of money to the peo 
ple by the government, and which, in my opinion, is without consti 
tutional authority. I believe, however, under the clause of the con 
stitution which gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with 
foreign countries and among the States, that the bonded warehouses 
now in use for the reception of foreign importations might also be 
used at every port of entry in the United States, and others estab 
lished elsewhere as well, for the reception of domestic articles, in 
tended for export or for sale in other States, and the government 
could be made to receive these articles and issue receipts therefor 
upon which the holders could readily borrow money. This, I believe, 
would answer every purpose contemplated by the sub-Treasury plan, 
except that of borrowing money at a specified cheap rate. However 
this may be, I know, my dear sir, that neither you nor the good and 
true men whom you represent would ask me to infringe in any way 
upon the organic law of our country, in the faithful observance of 
which, alone consists the safety of our people. 

Permit me to say that there is at this time a great responsibility 
resting upon you. This is an uprising of the agricultural class of our 
people, the most powerful class of our society, which amounts to little 
short of a revolution. This revolution is directed toward a redress of 



286 UFE OF VANCE. 

the evils arising from unjust legislation. You are the chosen head 
and representative of that class in the State of North Carolina, one of 
its most honored and respected citizens. I feel, sir, that with the 
freedom of a friend and fellow worker of the same political faith, I 
may say to you that you may do much to prevent this popular cry for 
redress from becoming a clamor for revenge. Guided within the 
proper channels, and by wise counsel,^ believe it is the movement for 
which all patriotic men in our country have waited and wished so 
long, and that it will result in just legislation and more equally dif 
fused prosperity. But if recklessly, unwisely or selfishly directed, it 
may result in incalculable injury to our country and especially our 
Southern portion of it. 

I notice with pain that much of the ill feeling of the farmers is 
directed not against the authors and upholders of this nefarious legis 
lation, but against their nearest neighbors and friends, those whose 
interests are as intimately connected with their own as is that of mem 
bers of the same household. I observe that bitter feeling is springing 
up between town and country between the farmer who brings his 
produce to town and the merchant who buys it and in return sells him 
daily supplies that often the farmer is taught to believe that the law 
yer, the doctor, or other professional man is hostile to him or is in 
some way responsible for the evil which he suffers. I need not say to 
you that this is all wrong, unwise, and hurtful in a degree to all con 
cerned. It saps the strength of our people and weakens their power 
to secure redress. We need everybody s help, because our oppressors 
are a strong party entrenched in the strongholds of the Government. 
Naturally the redress of the wrongs occasioned by unjust legislation 
is the repeal of that legislation. The great Democratic party of 
America, now in a large numerical majority, but deprived of the con 
trol of the Government by the most unscrupulous methods, openly 
and almost with unanimity, favors the repeal of the legislation of 
which you complain. A little strengthening of its hands, and but a 
little, will enable it to triumph. Its triumph will be yours. A little 
sapping of its strength, a little division of its ranks, will be its defeat. 
Again, its defeat will likewise be yours. The danger is that oppressed 
freemen will become impatient, and impatient men are often unwise. 
Your great organization is but little more than two years old it is not 
yet grown. It cannot look for great harvest of results before the sow 
ing and maturing of the crop. Already wonderful things have been 
achieved. Venerable legislators, life-long servants of corporations 
and Wall street policy have already come to know that there is a large 
class of the American people called farmers and who have rights and 
privileges like others. No greater shock for years past has been given 
to the sleek and comfortable recipients of class legislation than the 
recent passage through the Senate of the bill to restore the unlimited 
coinage and legal tender character of silver. This was undoubtedly 



LIFE OK VANCE. 287 

due to the Farmers Alliance. For the past six months there has been 
more discussion upon the condition of the farmers and matters per 
taining to their interests than has taken place within ten years 
previous. The more of this talk the better for the farmers. Their 
wrongs are so palpable that the justice of redressing them will become 
more and more irresistible as the light is turned on. The policy of 
the farmers, being now right, is to keep within the right. Demand 
nothing that is illegal, ask nothing that is unreasonable. Especially, 
it seems to me, they should be careful not to injure their friends. 

They should hold their forces in hand ready to aid those who fa 
vor them and to strike those only who are hostile to their purposes 
and principles. To attempt to make a political party of the Farmers 
Alliance, for the purpose of supplanting either of the great parties 
who divide the American people would be a great mistake. In the 
South it could only destroy the Democratic party and leave in undis 
puted control that other party which is the author and upholder of 
the evils by which we are afflicted. By your own rules you exclude 
from membership a majority of the community and for that reason 
alone you should not undertake to become a political party. I see 
many indications of that tendency which give me much concern. In 
the neighboring State of South Carolina there is a contest raging 
which, as it looks to me, can only have the result of putting the State 
back under African rule. This, too, among men who profess to agree 
upon all matters of principle. Let us hope that we may avoid such 
dangerous and unseemly contests in our State. I trust much to you, 
my dear sir, and to the conservatism, good sense, moderation and 
patriotism of the farmers of North Carolina, to avoid the taking of 
any position or the doing of anything that would prevent the Demo 
crats who are in the Alliance and the Democrats who are not in the 
Alliance from working together for principles which are common and 
for interests which are general, with that harmony which so triumph 
antly brought us out of the house of bondage in the period from 1870 
to 1876 and which has in so great a measure restored our State to a 
reasonable degree of prosperity and credit. Let us not imitate the 
conduct of the Jews when their sacred city was besieged by the Roman 
armies, who fought their enemies with incredible valor all day and 
fought each other with incredible fury all night. Let us, on the con 
trary, stand together and fight our common enemies day and night. 
Let us strive for a reduction of taxation on the necessaries of life for 
a reduction of the expenditures of the government for an increase of 
the currency and the price of farm products by the free coinage of 
silver and the restoration of its full legal tender character for the 
repeal of the tax upon State banks for the regulation of transporta 
tion rates by railroad commissions, and last but not least, let us 
earnestly contend against that spirit of centralization which is con 
stantly threatening to absorb the local self-government of the people 
of the States. Very truly yours, Z. B. VANCE. 



288 LIFE OF VANCE. 

It has also been charged that Vance surrendered his 
manhood and independence by promising the Alliance he 
would obey instructions or resign, and he was accused of 
bad faith in that having given the promise and been in 
structed, he did not either obey or resign. 

There never was the slightest foundation for either 
charge. In the first place he did not promise to obey in 
structions from the Alliance. His language was, "I recog 
nize the old Democratic doctrine of the right of the people 
to instruct * * * I hold that the will of the people 
clearly and unequivocally expressed must be obeyed," etc. 

There is ample authority and precedent in our own State 
for the position Vance took with reference to the right of 
the people, through their Legislature, to instruct, and the 
duty of the Senator to resign if he can not conscienciously 
obey. Indeed it would seem that there was no other course 
open to him. The precedents were comparatively recent 
and irresistible. Robert Strange resigned his seat in the 
United States Senate in 1840 because the Legislature gave 
him instructions with reference to the expunging resolution, 
the Public lands and the sub-Treasury, which his sense of 
public duty would not permit him to obey, and William H. 
Haywood, a few years later, resigned his seat in that body 
because his conception of his public duty would not allow 
him to carry out the instructions of the State Legislature 
as to the tariff, the compromise of 1833, and the refunding 
of the fine imposed on Andrew Jackson. So Vance was 
not truckling to the Alliance when he agreed to obey the 
instructions of the people, but was only following in the 
beaten path along which his illustrous predecessors had 
gone. 

Shortly after the State election of 1890, when it was 
known that a large majority of the members elect to the 
Legislature which was to choose Vance s successor, were 
members of the Alliance, the following correspondence 



LIFE OF VANCE. 289 

took place between Elias Carr, President of the State Alli 
ance, and Senator Vance : 

November 20, 1890. 
Hon. Z. B. Vance, Black Mountain, N. C. 

DEAR SIR: After^carefully considering the political situation in 
our State, I deem it wise to write you and ask the following ques 
tion: If the Legislature instructs you to advocate and vote for the 
sub-Treasury plan of financial reform will you carry out said instruc 
tions ? I hope that you will understand. I do not reflect in the 
slightest on your devotion to the people of North Carolina, but there 
are precedents where United Senators have carried out instructions 
and also precedents where they have disregarded them. I trust that 
you will give me an answer at your earliest convenience. 

Very respectfully, 

ELIAS CARR, 
President N. C. State Alliance. 

(ANSWER.) 

U. S. SENATE, WASHINGTON, D. C., Dec. 6, 1890. 

Elias Carr, President N. C. Farmers" Alliance, Old Sparta, N. C. 
DEAR SIR : In answer to your official communication of the 2oth 
ult., which did not reach me until the ist inst., I have to say that I 
recognize the old Democratic doctrine of the right of the people to 
instruct their representatives to the fullest extent to which it has 
ever been carried in North Carolina. I hold that the will of the peo 
ple clearly and unequivocally expressed must be obeyed unless com 
pliance would involve the representative in a moral wrong, in which 
case it would be his duty to resign and give place to a representative 
who would obey. Good faith in the observance of instructions and 
public pledges is absolutely essential to a government based on the 
popular will. Very respectfully yours, 

Z. B. VANCE. 

Now let us see about the instructions. The Legislature 
assembled in due time and it was ascertained, as before 
stated, that a large majority of its members were members 
of the Alliance, though claiming at the same time to be 
Democrats. Only a few days before the election of Senator 
the Democratic Alliance party met in caucus to pass upon 
the matter of the Senatorship. After some considerable 
discussion they passed the following resolution to be sub 
mitted to the two branches of the Legislature: 

"Resolved, By the House of Representatives the Senate 

20 



29 LIFE OF VANCE. 

concurring, that our Senators in the 515! and 520! Congresses 
of the United States be instructed, and our Representa 
tives requested to vote for and use all honorable means 
to secure the financial reforms as demanded in the platform 
adopted by the Ocala meeting of the National Farmers 
Alliance, held in December, 1890; and that a copy of this 
resolution be sent to our Senators and Representatives." 

This resolution was shown to Vance, who was in Raleigh 
at the time, and he positively and emphatically declined to 
accept an election under such instructions. He reiterated 
his views and opinions as formerly expressed, but declined 
most firmly to surrender or modify them for the sake 
of a re-election to the Senate. 

This was a bombshell in the camp. There was a great 
deal of consulting among the members and much going to 
and from Vance s room. He was as usual pleasant and 
cordial to his many friends, but resolute and inflexible in 
his position. His views were well known, and the party 
saw that the alternative was either to modify its resolution 
so as to conform to his judgment, or else throw him over^ 
board and take another man. There was a great deal of 
discussion and some angry feeling. Shortly before the 
election was gone into the caucus resolution was intro 
duced in the House, but was modified by amendment so as 
to conform to Vance s well known views, and was then 
passed, to-wit: 

"That our Senators in the 5ist and 52d Congresses be 
instructed and our Representative requested to vote for and 
use all honorable means to secure the objects of the financial 
reform as contemplated in the platform adopted at the 
Ocala meeting," etc. 

The resolution thus modified was satisfactory to the Sen 
ator. He was not willing to be tied down to the financial 
reform demanded in the Ocala platform, which was, of 
course, the sub-treasury scheme, but the objects sought or 
contemplated, to-wit : an increase in the volume of the cur- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 291 

rency by the free coinage of silver and other constitutional 
and practicable methods, was what he had always con 
tended for. 

These facts are incontestibly established by the journals 
of the Legislature of 1891, and by contemporaneous news 
papers as well as by the concurrent testimony of the men 
who actively participated in the events. The following 
very clear and explicit statements from Mr. Samuel L. 
Patterson, State Secretary of Agriculture, and of Ex-Gov. 
Thos. J. Jarvis, place the matter beyond the possibility of 
doubt or discussion : 

RALEIGH, N. C., March igth, 1897. 
Hon. Clement Dowd, Charlotte, N. C. 

DEAR SIR In obedience to your request, made some days ago in 
my office, I give you my recollections of incidents and conversations 
connected with the re-election of Governor Vance to the Senate by 
the Legislature of 1891. 

I know an idea prevails among some of his friends that Governor 
Vance humbled himself, or at least lowered his dignity, in accepting 
the election, coupled as it was with a certain resolution of instruction, 
and upon which his election was considered to depend. I do not think 
the situation as it existed has ever been fully understood, and in order 
to disabuse the public mind of an impression derogatory of Governor 
Vance s action, and to give also the view taken by Governor Vance 
himself, it seems necessary to go into certain details, of which I had 
personal knowledge. 

Without considering the campaign previous, or the influence ex 
erted therein by the new factor in politics, the Farmers Alliance, or 
any previous correspondence of Governor Vance s with reference to 
the Alliance demand, or principles, I will begin with the opening of 
the Legislature, in which appeared a large majority of Alliance mem 
bers. 

At the outset, even before the Legislature was organized, a deter 
mined purpose was manifested on the part of a majority of these to 
elect no one, not even Governor Vance, who was not in sympathy with 
the Alliance idea of "financial reform," and they were not willing to 
take this for granted, unsupported by some sort of instructions. I 
may say here that the Democratic members, who were not members 
of the Alliance, with mighty few exceptions, were in harmony w r ith 
the Alliance members in these views. As is usual at such times, every 
shade of opinion was represented, from the mildly conservative to the 
extremely radical. Under these circumstances great and grave uncer 
tainty existed as to the outcome. Several caucuses of the Alliance 



UFE OF VANCE. 

members were held. My recollection is that at one of these, probably 
on Thursday night after the meeting of the Legislature on Wednesday, 
a committee was appointed to draft resolutions of instruction, to be 
submitted to the caucus on the night following, and that at the caucus 
Friday night, the resolution submitted was considered too stringent. 
I am certain that the first, and probably the second resolution pre 
sented to the caucus, was rejected, and it was amended or a substitute 
adopted. 

Securing a copy I took it to Governor Vance s room at the Yar- 
borough, where we were both stopping. He had retired, but arose 
and read it. His disappointment was evident, but he only remarked, 
"he didn t know about that, but would think over it and give me an 
answer in the morning." The next day, befor starting to the Capitol, 
I went again to see him. His answer was that he could not accept an 
election under the terms imposed in the resolution. This was spoken 
very earnestly. I was very much disappointed, for I had come to the 
Legislature instructed to support Governor Vance, unhampered by any 
conditions, and I feared the passage of the resolution, notwithstanding 
his opposition. After reaching the Capitol, I had a hasty conference 
with some of the members, a few of whom agreed with me to make an 
effort to delay action, by referring the resolution to a committee. Such 
a motion was made by Mr. Watson, of Robeson, who spoke strongly in 
its favor, as did perhaps one or two others. On the other hand, post 
ponement was vigorously opposed it is unnecessary to state here by 
whom, and for what apparent purpose. The motion to defer was de 
feated by a large majority, and the vote on the main question was 
upon us. It was a critical moment. Action was about to be taken, 
resulting in complications, the end of which no man could foresee. 
Just at the moment when the speaker was ready to put the question, I 
had a hasty conference with Mr. Holeman, the able and patriotic rep 
resentative from Iredell, who had been delegated by the caucus to 
present the resolution to the House. He readily agreed to accept the 
amendment I proposed. Going forward to the clerk s desk to write it, 
I was surrounded by members expostulating with and urging me not 
to offer it, to which my reply was, Mr. Holeman had already ac 
cepted it. 

I have not a copy of the resolution as offered, but it was in effect 
about as follows : 

"That our Senators * * * are hereby instructed * * to vote 
for, and use all honorable means to secure the financial reform de 
manded in the platform adopted by the Ocala meeting of the National 
Farmers Alliance held in December, 1890. 

" Amendment Proposed : Between the words secure" and the 
insert the words the objects of and strike out the word demanded, 
and insert the words - as contemplated, making the resolution read, 
That our Senators * * * are hereby instructed * * to, vote 



LIFE OF VANCE. 293 

for and use all honorable means to secure the objects of the financial 
reform, as contemplated in the platform adopted by the Ocala meeting 
of the National Farmers Alliance held in December, 1890. : 

As so amended, the resolution was put to the house and supported 
by all the members present, except the thirteen Republicans. Mr. 
Pritchard, their young leader, always open and manly, taking occa 
sion in opposing the resolution, to defend the National Banking sys 
tem. (Who, then, would have imagined that he would become the 
great Vance s immediate successor ?) 

In the afternoon a rumor reached me that Governor Vance was bit 
terly disappointed at the action of the House, and would decline the 
election. I had felt that the amendment gave such elasticity to the 
resolution, as to relieve its objectionable feature, and hence was so 
chagrined at the supposed failure, I absented myself during the after 
noon, and it was only on Charley Vance s invitation at night that I 
went to the room. 

The first sight of the face so beloved by North Carolinians was suf 
ficient to convince me of the error. Lit up with an expression very 
different from the evident depression of the morning, in his inimit 
able manner he rose and came forward, greeting me with the remark, 
"I want to give my hand to the man who offered that amendment; 
that was the best day s work ever you did; at least the best for me." 
His whole appearance had changed, and his usual buoyant spirits had 
returned. Continuing to discuss the amendment, and turning to the 
lamented Buck Jones, who was present, he remarked in that familiar 
drawling tone of voice, "You know what a long headed old coon Jar- 
vis is? When I showed him the resolution as passed, he said is that 
all? I replied, this is the copy sent me by Bob Furnian. Why, 
he says, that s just what you ve been working for all the time. Yes, 
said I, there s nothing in this resolution that I cannot cheerfully en 
dorse. " 

Most of this is the exact language used, and it is certainly very 
conclusive that in his opinion, there was a world of difference be 
tween instructions to vote absolutely for a certain measure without 
qualifications, and instructions to vote for certain objects contem 
plated in the measure, leaving his own judgment to decide how best 
to work these out. 

The caucus resolution had been introduced in the Senate, but 
action was deferred until the following Monday. \Vhen the amended 
House resolution was presented on Monday, the original was voted 
down, and the House resolution passed, unanimously I believe, Mr. 
Turner, of Iredell, taking occasion to define clearly the difference be 
tween the two. Several other Senators wtib, with Mr. Turner, would 
probably have opposed the original resolution, explained their posi 
tion and voted for it as amended. 

After the first disappointment on the part of some of the Alliance 



294 



OF VANCE. 



members that the caucus decree had not been fulfilled to the letter, I 
never heard criticism made, nor any fault found with the action 
taken. Certainly no one, Allianceman, Populist, Republican or Dem 
ocrat will be found to say that Governor Vance was ever faithless 
to the instructions as he construed them, or that in this he was act 
ing otherwise than impelled by his own sincere convictions. 

I have spun out this narrative beyond intended limits, but the 
minor details may aid you in a fuller realization of the difficulties of 
the situation. I am very confident that Governor Vance and those in 
Raleigh cognizant of these facts approved of the action taken and 
felt that a fortunate solution had been reached of threatening and se 
rious complications. 

I believe that Governor Vance s pride was wounded at the 
thought that his beloved people could consider it necessary to give 
"instructions" to him, who had always been so true to their welfare, 
but the conditions of the instructions were never galling to his lib 
erty of action. 

Continuous office work and an absence of several days have pre 
vented an earlier compliance with your request. You can use what 
I have written in whatever way will best serve your purpose, and 
with best wishes for the success of your work, I am, 

Very truly yours, 

S. L. PATTERSON. 

GREENVII^E, N. C., April i, 1897. 
Hon. C. Dowd, Charlotte, N. C. 

DEAR SIR: I have received the copy of a letter of the Hon. S. L. 
Patterson, sent me by you, in reference to the election of Hon. Z. B. 
Vance to the Senate in 1891; and I have carefully read and reread the 
same, and I now, at your request, give my recollections and impressions 
about the matters therein referred to. I cannot speak of any of the 
interviews or conversation or meetings referred to by Mr. Patterson, 
because I was not present at any of them; but I had some knowledge 
of the subject matter of which they treated, and of that I will speak. 

A few days before the election for Senator came off in January, 
1891, I received a telegram from Senator Vance asking me to come to 
Raleigh at once. I took the first train and arrived there late in the 
afternoon, a day or so before the first ballot was to be taken. I went 
at once to the Senator s room attheYarboro House and remained with 
him some time. He talked freely with me about the whole situation. 
He explained to me that at the time he telegraphed for me the situa 
tion of affairs was embarrassing ; that some members of the Legislature, 
he thought, were disposed to make demands of him to which he could 
not and would not yield. He stated their attitude as he understood 
it, but he said the situation had materially changed since he tele 
graphed for me. After having fully explained the situation at the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 295 

time he telegraphed, he handed me a copy of what purported to be a 
resolution passed, and said that was what they now demanded of him. 
After reading it, I think I said, " is that all ? " I am sure I used some 
such expression. I know I said to him the spirit of the resolution was 
in harmony with his own views, and that he ought not to hesitate about 
agreeing to it. He said he was confident he could be elected Senator 
without submitting to any semblance of a condition or instruction if 
he chose to make the fight, but that he did not wish to do anything to 
create a division in his party. While he was positive arid outspoken 
in his determination not to submit to any humiliating conditions, even 
for the sake of the high office, yet so anxious was he to preserve har 
mony within the Democracy of the State that he was willing to make 
some concessions to the honest convictions of those who felt the 
necessity for some reform or change in our financial system. 

There was no power on earth that could have induced Vance to 
have accepted an office under conditions which he felt could be justly 
held to forfeit the affection and high esteem in which he was held by 
the people of his State. Those who think that he did do or that he 
felt that he had done so simply misunderstood the man. He talked with 
me freely not only at the time of his election, but before and after 
wards about the great questions that were then beginning to absorb 
all other questions and to divide men who had hitherto worked in 
harmony with each other. 

Vance was by nature, education, training and associations hon 
estly the friend of the people, and the ready, earnest champion of 
their cause. While he had a decent regard for the influence of posi 
tion and wealth, and while he taught his fellowmen to have proper 
respect for these things and to accord each their full measure of pro 
tection, he had nothing of obsequiousness for them in his nature or 
habits. He was the implacable foe of all manner of trusts and com 
binations which oppressed the people, and he could not be allured by 
their blandishments nor frightened by their threats, into silence. He 
honestly believed in that system of laws and finance which gave the 
people the greatest freedom in their individual efforts, enterprise and 
labors, consistent with the public good. 

It was after his election that some of his old friends began to 
grow lukewarm toward him. There is no question but he felt the loss 
of these friends, nor is there any question but what the last years of 
his life had in them disappointments and regrets, and that he spoke 
of these and showed them in his intercourse with his close friends. 
But it is not true that these feelings arose from any inward sense of 
wrong doing or want of manliness on his part in his election or at 
any other time. He had been a bold, aggressive leader of the Democ 
racy of his State and Nation because he believed its principles and 
teachings were for the best interests of the people. He had seen it 
come into power and he wanted to see it keep its pledges and fulfill 



296 LIFE OF VANCE. 

its promised mission in bringing prosperity to the homes of the peo 
ple. His great heart was in it. He had his own convictions as to 
what had been promised and as to what was expected. He soon came 
to that point where he had to surrender these convictions or be in 
antagonism to the policy of the head of his party. The world knows 
how he made his choice. In making this choice it was but natural 
that he should desire to see his North Carolina friends go with him, 
and it is but natural that he should have felt keenly the disappoint 
ment when he saw some who had been very close to him leave him 
and join in with the advocates of the President s policy. 

If I am not making this reply to your letter too long I will state 
another fact in connection with what I have already said. It is this : 
Governor Vance made a campaign in 1876 for the redemption of his 
State, which will live in history. In that campaign he had the hearty 
and united support of his party. Success crowned his efforts and he 
saw his State grow and develop and prosper under the party which he 
had led to victory. He felt a personal pride in its achievements and in 
its record. He had fondly hoped to see it continue in power ; but as 
early as 1889 and 1890 he saw dangers ahead unless some financial re 
lief could be worked out for the farmers of the State through Congress. 
He believed and honestly believed that his party had done all that 
could be done for the good of the people within the sphere of its power 
in the State and that nothing but harm could come to the State by 
driving this party from power. And yet he felt that unless something 
was done by the national Legislature for the relief of the farmers, 
that the influences then at work would disintegrate the party and lose 
the State. He was therefore doubly solicitous to see his party, when 
it came into complete control of the national government, enact such 
laws as would bring this relief to his people and save his party from 
wreck and ruin. He lived to see his party fail in what he thought was 
its duty, but he did not live to see its defeat. He was gathered to his 
Father s before the disastrous defeat of 1894 came. 

The anxieties, the failures, the disappointments to which I have 
referred, tinged the last years of his noble life with a sadness that ill 
became his joyous, happy nature. No thought that he had ever been un 
faithful to himself or his people ever entered his great soul to embitter 
or sadden his life and those who attributed any of his seeming sadness 
to such a cause, if there be any such persons, wrong both him and 
themselves. 

In this letter I have kept within the bounds of your inquiries, and 
I have written what I believe to be the facts. Of my opportunities to 
know the facts I leave others to say. You can make such use of the 
letter of any part of it as you may see proper. 

With a sincere desire for the success of your generous efforts to 
perpetuate the name and fame of deeds of North Carolina s greatest 
and best beloved son, I am Truly yours, THOS. J. JARVIS. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 297 

In the light of the foregoing facts, let the following open 
letter to the people of North Carolina, written by Senator 
Vance in September, 1892, be carefully read. Let his 
strong and clear utterances in respect to the Democratic 
party and the Farmers Alliance, then called the Third 
party, be carefully noted, and let the severest critic say 
wherein there is equivocation, or uncertainty, or where is 
to be found a feeble or uncandid expression. His language 
is as direct and as strong, as well chosen Saxon words could 
make it, resembling in its force and clearness the limpid 
waters of the rivulets that gallop down the sides of his 
native mountains: 

MY FEi<iyOW-CiTizENS For many years past I have been in the 
habit of visiting you in person during important campaigns and 
addressing you upon the political issues of the time. Being on this 
occasion prevented this privilege by the condition of my health, and 
earnestly believing that the questions to be decided by our November 
elections are of vital importance to the public welfare, I am induced 
to contribute in this way my share in the discussion of them. 

I regard the situation as most critical. 

Since 1860 the legislation of our country has been almost exclu 
sively within the power of one political party. Naturally it has ceased 
to be general in its beneficence and has become local and partial in 
the extreme. The law-making power has become the fearfully effi 
cient implement of such classes, corporations, cliques and combina 
tions as could by fair means or foul obtain control of it. It has been 
made to subserve purely personal ends. In divers ways the taxing 
power of the government has been perverted from public to private 
purposes ; money is levied thereby to enrich manufacturers, to sup 
press rivalry in business, and in every conceivable way to help the 
favored few at the expense of the many. The varied corrupting in 
fluences upon the business world arising from this legislation produce 
their natural effect. The classes whose business was thus favored 
flourish apace, whilst the unfavored have experienced in the midst of 
peace and plenty all the losses and hardships which are commonly 
felt only in times of public calamity; and the extraordinary spectacle 
is presented of a nation whose aggregate wealth is rapidly and vastly 
increasing, whilst the individual wealth of its chief toilers and wealth- 
producers is diminishing in proportion thereto. 

From the Republican party, with its disregard of the limitations 
of the Constitution and its natural dependence for support upon the 
money of the people whom it had enriched, all of this corrupt legis- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 

lation has proceeded. Without it there was nothing evil done that 
was done. 

It follows as an undeniable truth, that whoever directly or indi 
rectly upholds, helps or supports that party is a friend to the cor 
ruptions which it has produced, and is an enemy to those who would 
repeal that legislation and reform the abuses founded upon it. There 
is no escape from this. 

The Democratic party, on the contrary, believes in the strict lim 
itations of the Constitution, and has, as a party, steadily opposed all 
abuse of the taxing power or any other power of the general govern 
ment for private purposes, and has unceasingly advocated the most 
absolute and perfect equality of all citizens in the legislation of our 
country. 

There is not a single wrong or injustice of which complaint is 
made in our laws for thirty years past which can justly be charged to 
the Democratic party. Not one. It has ever been a break-water 
against the tyrannical tendencies of the Republicans; and though in a 
minority has been able to prevent some of the worst legislation ever 
attempted, and to modify other laws which in their original inquity 
would have been intolerable. 

This statement of the acts and purposes of the two great political 
parties cannot be truthfully denied. 

Now what is the situation ? What is it the manifest duty of our 
people to do in the coming elections ? 

The two great political parties into which our people are mainly 
divided are once more in the field with their platforms of principles 
and their candidates, State and Federal, thereon. The Republicans 
profess all of their old doctrines from which have come the evils of 
which the people complain ; they glory in that abuse of the taxing 
power which has made a few rich and millions poor, and seeking new 
fields of injustice and opression, they openly declare their intention 
to take from the States the right to control the election of their own 
representatives, which is the chief bulwark of their rights and liberties. 
The Democrats re-affirm their adherence to the Constitution, their 
opposition to tariff robbery, to banking monopoly and to corporate 
oppression in all its forms, and their desire to leave the power to con 
trol elections where the Constitution left it, and where it has resided 
for more than one hundred years. Primarily it would seem that no 
Democrat, and especially no Southern Democrat, could hesitate for a 
single moment as to which of these parties deserved his support. 

But a new party has arisen which is endeavoring to make the peo 
ple believe that the Democratic party is no longer to be trusted. The 
argument to prove this is a travesty on common sense: That because 
for thirty years they have as a party steadily opposed all abuses and 
have not been able at any time to prevent or reform them, therefore 
it is no longer worthy of the support of those who desire reform. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 299 

The meaning of this is, the Democratic party has been guilty of 
being in a minority. Its sin consists in not having done that which 
it could not do ! Then let it be condemned, whilst the Republican 
party, which has had the power and actually did all these things, and 
still had the power to undo them and does not, is acquitted. Nay, 
we will help it to keep in power by betraying and destroying its only 
enemy. Therefore, as the Democratic party, with its vast organiza 
tion in every State, county and township in the United States, with 
its control of one branch of Congress and comprising in the popular 
vote a large majority of all the people in the Union, has not been 
strong enough heretofore to effect the reforms for which it has labored 
and wished, being without the Senate and executive, they claim the 
only chance for reform is to vote for the candidates of this Third 
party, whose existence in the national government and power to con 
trol legislation are evidenced by three or four members of the House 
of Representatives and two in the Senate! 

Common sense and self-preservation would seem to dictate that 
we should help the Democrats, who are almost in power, to get alto 
gether in power, and trust them to correct abuses as they have prom 
ised. One strong pull in November next would give them control of 
both branches of Congress and the executive, and the long night 
of misrule and injustice would burst into the dawn of a new and bet 
ter day. It would be time enough to leave them and form a new 
party when they had been tried and proved faithless. 

But the leaders of this new party, falsely called the People s, insist 
that you shall abandon the Democratic party now and vote with them. 
I am grieved to know that there are quite a number of our fellow-citi 
zens in North Carolina who propose to follow that advice. It strikes 
me as the very extreme of unwisdom; and when done with a full knowl 
edge of the consequences it ceases to be mere folly and becomes a 
crime. For whatever may be the hopes or the wishes of these men, 
they know as well as they know of their own existence, that this party 
has not only no chance of electing their candidates at the polls, but 
also none of throwing the election into the House of Representatives, 
about which they appear to be most sanguine. Let no man be deceived 
about this. The handful of votes which will be cast for Weaver in this 
State, be it as large as they can earnestly claim, cannot wrest the elec 
toral vote from both Cleveland and Harrison, so as to help throw the 
choice into the House. It is absurd to hope so. But thirty thousand 
(30,000) votes taken from Cleveland and given to Weaver will throw 
the vote, not, indeed, into a Democratic House, but into the hands of 
Harrison. This result was so plain that the Republican leaders, not 
withstanding their professions to the contrary, determined to not let 
slip the opportunity, and they are now ready with full tickets and a 
complete organization to avail themselves of everything which the 
dissension and folly of our people may throw into their laps. Their 



3 UFE OF VANCE. 

promises to run no State ticket were manifestly made with the inten 
tion of alluring a third party ticket into the field, trusting that when 
men get hot and bad blood prevailed, they might walk off with the 
prize in both State and Federal elections. Alas ! that want of reflec 
tion or patriotism should render this scheme a probable success. 
Indeed, it is so plain that no intelligent man can fail to see it or honest 
one deny it, that the only probable, not to say possible result, of the 
Third party movement in North Carolina this fall will be to elect a full 
Republican State ticket and to aid in the election of a Republican 
President and House of Representatives. What is to be gained by that 
result I need not ask. How the reforms which they profess to desire 
are to be obtained through Republican success is something which 
surpasses human conjecture. No true friend of this commonwealth, I 
am sure, will contribute to this result. It is reported that a prominent 
candidate on the ticket of the Third party says he had rather submit 
to negro or any kind of rule than such as we have at present; but I am 
forced to believe that, if this be true, there are very few other white 
men of North Carolina who are outside of the penitentiary and who 
ought to be outside, who entertain sentiments so foul and brutal. Our 
people know that under Democratic rule they have had good laws, low 
taxes, economy, and purity in the administration of their affairs, and I 
hope and believe they will not lightly risk its overthrow by casting 
useless or hopeless votes in November. 

The class of our people who have had greatest cause to complain 
of vicious legislation is the agricultural. The party which has steadily 
resisted this, and continually declaimed against it on the hustings and 
have struggled manfully to repeal it in the halls of legislation, is the 
Democratic. You will bear me witness that unremittingly since I 
have been your representative in the Senate I have both spoken and 
voted against that unjust legislation. At home, as you know, I never 
ceased to expose its inequalities and to advise the farmers to organize 
for resistance to it. When they did begin to combine they had the 
sympathy and good wishes of almost every just man in the United 
States who was not in some way the recipient of the plunder arising 
from this abuse. 

Never was there a political movement of our people founded upon 
better grounds or more reasonable complaint. But that which I feared, 
and against which I earnestly warned them, soon came to pass. Men 
who had little interest in agriculture and much interest in their own 
fortunes, aspired to be its leaders. Often men who had failed to obtain 
office from either of the old political parties concluded to farm the 
farmers and raise personal crops of honor and profit out of them. 
They pressed to the front, thrust the real farmers aside, and involved 
the Alliance in the wildest and most impracticable propositions ever 
heard of among sane men, and in defiance of their constitution soon 
converted it into a mere political party composed of the discontented 



LIFE OF VANCE. 301 

and the disappointed elements of society, professing no fixed political 
principles or regard for the Constitution of their country, but striving 
only to obtain the very worst of class legislation, which is their sole 
idea of statesmanship. Their proposition to purchase and control all 
the lines of transportation and telegraph in the United States at the 
expense of many billions of dollars, and of refunding to the soldiers 
the difference between paper and gold at the date of their payment, at 
least a billion more; of loaning people money on real estate at lower 
rates of interest than the market rates, and kindred schemes, are so 
preposterous that to argue them seriously is a slander upon our civili 
zation; and the advocacy of such measures for the hitherto most con 
servative element of our society is a notification to all the world that 
we are approaching that stage of demagoguism and communism which 
mark a people as unfit for self-government. 

My unfaltering confidence is in the true farmers of North Caro 
lina, who as members of that Alliance will, I trust, not permit their 
noble order and their just cause to be thus perverted and debased. 
Rest assured that no real friend of that noble class of men who, under 
the providence of God, give us our daily bread, will ever consent to 
this degradation of their cause into the obsequious tool of unscrupu 
lous, ambitious men, forfeiting the sympathy of all moderate people, 
and making the very name of Alliance to stink in the nostrils of jus 
tice and common sense. I can but believe the good judgment of our 
farmers will enable them to see where these leaders are taking them, 
and that their native honesty will impel them to draw back in time to 
save their country. 

Many of our people, it is true, have objected to Mr. Cleveland, 
and preferred that he should not have been nominated. I confess 
that I was among that number. But an individual preference before 
the nomination of a candidate is one thing, and the duty of a true man 
after that nomination has been fairly made is another and very differ 
ent thing indeed. In the one case a preference may be indulged in 
properly, without danger to the principles we profess or the party 
which has those principles in charge; in the other case we endanger 
both, and falsify our pretentious, by contributing undeniably to the 
success of our adversaries. If we refuse to abide by the voice of the 
majority of our fellow-Democrats, freely and unmistakably expressed 
in friendly convention, there is an end of all associated party effort 
in the government of our country; if we personally participate in that 
consultation or convention and then refuse to abide by the decision 
of the tribunal of our own selection, then there is an end of all per 
sonal honor among men, and the confidence which is necessary to all 
combined effort is gone forever. The man who bets proposing to col 
lect if he wins and to repudiate if he loses, is in all countries and 
among all classes of people considered a dishonest man. 

But if the considerations of good faith do not influence men s ac- 



302 LIFE OF VANCE. 

V 

tions in such a case as this, surely those which pertain to the public 
welfare ought to be decisive. If not satisfied with Mr. Cleveland, it 
seems to me an honest man should balance accounts, pro and con, in 
this way : Cleveland agrees with me in desiring to reform the oppres 
sive tariff taxation, to restrict the abuse of corporate privileges, to 
repeal the tax on State banks and thereby to expand the currency, and 
above all he is vehemently opposed to Force bills and all similar at 
tempts to destroy the rights and liberties of the States. In all essential 
reforms he agrees with me except in the single matter of the free 
coinage of silver, and in respect to this there is reason to hope that 
the same candor and vigorous investigation which brought him in full 
sympathy with his party on the great question of tariff reform will 
soon bring him to see the absolute necessity of maintaining both of the 
precious metals on a par to meet the urgent needs of the currency of 
the world. Harrison, on the contrary, agrees with me in nothing ; 
there is no change or reform which I desire that he is not bitterly op 
posed to, and his party with him. Why, then, should I hesitate? 
Either my vote for Weaver will help Harrison and injure Cleveland, 
or it will not it can not.avail Weaver, for he has no chance whatever, 
will probably not carry a single State ; why, then, should I risk doing a 
damage to the candidate who would do most for me, though he does 
not promise to do all, and contribute to the election of the one who 
promises me nothing but an indefinite continuance of existing wrongs 
and an insolent threat of other and greater wrongs so soon as he has 
the power to perpetrate them ? 

It seems to me, fellow-citizens, that the path of duty was never 
more plain or the necessity of walking in it more imperative than it is 
at this moment. Let me beg your earnest consideration of the situa 
tion before you vote in November, and before you cut loose from the 
old constitutional Democratic party, which in times of our extreme 
peril has so often brought us forth out of the house of bondage, and 
abandon its shining banners to follow reckless and incompetent men 
into the wilderness of their unreal schemes. Think well of the possi 
ble result of your action ; how easy it is to destroy, how hard to rebuild. 
I recently cut down in my mountain home, in about five hours, a tree 
that had taken five hundred years to grow. 

The Democratic parly is strong and able and willing to help you ; 
its arm is not shortened that it can not save you ; to cherish and up 
hold it is the dictate of patriotism and common sense. 

Your fellow-citizen, 

Z. B. VANCE. 
GoMBRboN, Sept. 17, 1892. 

An impartial reading of the foregoing letter must remove 
from the mind of every fair man, any idea that Vance was 
not loyal to the Democratic party or that he had any sym- 



LIKE OF VANCE. 303 

pathy whatever with the Third party, and would seem 
to have been enough to silence all clamor in that respect. 

But in July of the next year another bombshell is thrown. 
Vance wrote a letter to the President of the Mecklenburg 
County Alliance. The very fact, the very idea was pre 
posterous and startling. The critics became busy again 
and the newspapers sent up a chorus of censure. Some 
said Vance was gone over to the Alliance bag and baggage. 
Some said his failing health had weakened his mind, and 
various other causes and motives were assigned. He cer 
tainly had no motive of immediate personal concern for he 
had been elected but a little more than a year before and 
had five years yet to serve. Still his motive was clear 
enough to any one who wants to see straight and judge 
fairly. The repeal bill was pending in Congress. Vance 
believed the passage of that bill would be injurious to the 
country. He said in his speech in the Senate delivered 
only two months later, in prophetic language, that if this 
act was passed, there would be no more legislation favor 
able to silver during that administration. He was using 
all his energies to defeat it. He was glad of sympathy and 
re-enforcement from any source. Another reason was that 
these people were his neighbors and personal friends. 
They had sent him a respectful communication as their 
Senator. Who will say he should not have treated them 
with consideration and respect ? He did not fulminate any 
new doctrines. He did not waver in the steady course he 
had ever pursued, but only repeated and reasserted what he 
had said a thousand times from the stump and in the 
Senate. 

An examination of the newspaper criticisms even at this 
short interval reveals facts that are interesting and amus 
ing. The burden of the criticism of one of the ablest and 
most influential papers in the state upon this letter was 
that u the Senator could not see his way clear to agree 
with his party as to the repeal bill and as to the coinage of 



304 UFE OF VANCE. 

silver upon some such basis as will ensure its circulation 
on a parity with gold." But was he out of plumb with his 
party? Viewed in the light of subsequent events was 
Vance or his critics out of the party alignment? Cleve 
land was in favor of the repeal bill but a majority of the 
the Democrtic Senators voted, as Vance did, against it. 
And was the independent free coinage of silver a cardinal 
doctrine of the Democratic party? Let the Chicago plat 
form on which Bryan was nominated for President and the 
millions of voters who sustained him answer. How did 
Vance know in 1893 and earlier so much more about the 
trend of public thought and events than his critics knew ? 
And should not those who said hard things of him for 
favoring free coinage and afterwards themselves supported 
Bryan for President, see and feel the error of their course ? 
His convictions were strong and he was generally right. 
His intuitions were powerful and nearly always unerring. 
He was born wise as to the feelings and aspirations of the 
common people. He seemed to know as by intuition what 
they wanted and what they needed. He was the born 
leader and tribune of the great masses, the Magnus Apollo 
of the common people. He was in advance of his party 
on the silver question but yet on the direct line of its sub 
sequent movement. Here is the letter to the Mecklenburg 
Alliance : 

GOMBROON, NEAR BI.ACK MOUNTAIN, N. C., July 19, 1893. 
A*. W. Elliott, Esq., Secretary Mecklenburg County Alliance : 

SIR I have received a copy of the resolution of Mecklenburg Al 
liance, adopted at a recent meeting, urging Senators and Representa 
tives to stand by the present silver purchasing law until some satis 
factory substitute shall be adopted. 

I observe this action with great pleasure, for two reasons : In 
the first place, it is the exercise of one of the most valuable and legiti 
mate functions by which the Alliance can be made to subserve the in 
terest of the farmers the concentration of their whole influence 
upon the issues of the day. In view of the notorious fact of combina 
tions among all other branches of industry and in every form of capi 
tal, I years ago urged upon our agricultural classes the importance of 



LIFE OF VANCE. 305 

such organization as would enable them to make their vast but widely 
scattered and disjointed strength felt, promptly and efficiently, in 
legislation. Now, the preservation of silver as a part of our currency 
is one of the most vital of all the issues which our people have been 
called upon to decide for half a century. The enemies of silver money 
have displayed a wonderful sagacity in their tactics. Though scat 
tered throughout the civilized world they have obeyed a single voice 
from headquarters in London. From New York the word comes 
down the line to all American capital and the response is immediate. 
What is known as the Sherman law is the only legislation on our 
statute books which binds us to the use of silver, and the cry is raised 
for its repeal under various pretences, all equally false. The banks, 
stock-brokers, bondholders, chambers of commerce, et id omne 
genus, clamor for its repeal and urge the call of an extra session of 
Congress to assemble and sit during the dog days for that purpose 
alone. Tariff repeal, which formed the chief issue of the past cam 
paign, is thrust to the rear, and the interest of capital is placed in 
front, to be dealt with under the demoralizing conditions of a fraudu 
lent panic created by capital itself and called by Mr. Ingersoll "the 
bankers panic." 

Under these alarming circumstances I have listened, and mostly 
in vain, for the voice of the Farmers Alliance sounding their opinions 
and the wishes of those they represent, composing fully one-half of the 
nation, giving the feeble and vacillating among politicians to under 
stand what they had to expect if they betrayed the people s cause in 
this great financial question. The action of your Alliance is the first 
official utterance on the subject I have seen in the State. It is time 
your order was bringing every atom of its influence to bear. It should 
use ever} means possible to let it be known that there is yet another 
and entirely different world in the fields and homes of toil, whose in 
terests demand attention as well as that combination of money dealers, 
stock-brokers, gamblers and speculators who assume for themselves 
to constitute the business interests of the land. The effect of this 
prompt and united action cannot possibly be doubted. 

In the next place I was glad to read the resolutions of your Alli 
ance, because they concurred with my own most serious convictions. 
Many years ago, after as thorough and impartial an examination of 
the question as I was capable of making, I came to the absolute con 
clusion that the use of silver as well as gold, on equal terms, as the 
basis of our currency was best for the welfare of the people of the 
United States. This view has governed my course in Congress. The 
fact that nature sometimes yielded more of one metal than of the 
other, thus causing a discrepancy in their intrinsic values, did not dis 
turb me; for I learned from history that for nearly three hundred 
years during which a ratio between the two metals was fixed by law, 
the fluctuations in intrinsic value had never exceeded 3^ per cent.; 

21 



306 UFE OF VANCE. 

and that, soon after that law was withdrawn, great and material fluc 
tuations immediately began, which will doubtless continue so long as 
we treat one metal as of fixed and standard value and the other as a 
commodity. It is not necessary to go over all the grounds in which 
my conviction was founded. I simply wish to assure you that my 
opinions are unchanged. 

Recent developments, which seem to have unsettled so many silver 
advocates, and make them give way to the repeal of the Sherman law, 
has rather strengthened me in the determination to yield nothing to 
the monometalists, whose schemes I regard as absolutely selfish and 
unpatriotic. The "panic" so industriously advertised, is known now 
to have been created by them; and will be known hereafter as the rich 
man s panic; the explosion of the Indian bomb is already discounted 
as the grasping by the government of the profits of coining silver 
rupees which heretofore had been reaped by British merchants. The 
coining will go on as largely as ever, only the Indian government will 
pocket the 40 per cent, gain and not the merchants. England does not 
dare to demonetize silver in India, which alone makes her demonetize 
it at home. There is not spare gold enough in the world to replace the 
$900,000,000 of silver in that country. 

The attempt to do so would bankrupt half of Christendom, and 
England well knows it. The suggestion is pure bluff, and can only 
disturb a politician who holds a very weak hand. Nor have the allega 
tions so distressingly shouted that the Sherman law was causing our 
gold to leave the country had any effect on me. From the beginning I 
knew them to be false. Gold went out because we owed it abroad, 
and the balance of trade was against us. Shipments of wheat have 
turned the tide, and it is now coming in. Some of our securities did 
come home and take off gold in payment, but this hurt nobody except 
speculators in them, who were fearful that the price would fall and 
they would lose money. But even those which did come from abroad 
came in consequence of the scare got up by our own capitalists. Of 
course foreigners believe the stories of the ruin and bankruptcy if the 
Sherman law was not repealed, which our own people told them. 

Finally, I hope it is unnecessary for me to say that the hope of 
ingratiating myself with the administration in order to secure patron 
age at its hands, has in no sense affected my opinion of right in the 
premises. How far such a motive may operate in the repeal of that 
law I have no means of knowing. I believe, however, it will not go a 
great way. But let things go as they may, it shall be my earnest 
endeavor to do my duty in maintaining the cause of the people by 
preserving the character of their money, and increasing its abundance. 
Very truly yours, Z. B. VANCE. 

The following able argument against the constitution 
ality of the sub-Treasury scheme was published in the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 307 

Raleigh News and Observer of October 9, 1891, without 
signature, but Capt. Samuel A. Ashe, the editor of that 
paper at the time, authorizes the statement that it was 
written by Senator Vance. 

The general objects and purposes of the Farmers Alliance are such 
as attract the sympathy and support of all who desire to see their 
country prosper and their fellow-citizens freed from those environ 
ments which put limitations on their proper and lawful endeavors to 
promote their happiness and individual fortunes. 

Whatever the restraints the freedom of citizens in their rightful 
efforts to advance their interests is oppressive and is of evil, and all 
should join to remove such barriers where they exist and promote the 
common and general welfare of the people. Fully imbued with these 
sentiments, we regret that the Farmers Alliance has sought to make 
the sub-Treasury bill the corner-stone of their measures of relief. The 
general purpose in view, relief for the people, enlists the cordial sup 
port of all patriotic men, but the particular road chosen may be im 
practicable to travel the particular measure may not be wisely 
selected. If the sub-Treasury bill be unconstitutional it cannot be 
put in operation, and time is lost in seeking it, and bitterness will 
come from the disappointment, and harm will spring from unsettling 
the confidence which men have in those who have heretofore served 
them with faithfulness, but who for conscience sake cannot support 
an unconstitutional measure. 

Then, is the measure constitutional ? First, we recall that nearly 
without exception every man whose business it has been to study the 
constitution, either say so emphatically, or avoids a direct opinion. 
Is it possible that these men who have sought the favor of the people 
in the past, would set themselves against a measure that has taken 
such a hold upon the minds of their people their friends, their neigh 
bors, their constituents who have honored them so highly, except 
from the clearest conviction that the measure is unconstitutional ? 
Would they not share in the general benefit, as other citizens ? Every 
motive would lead them to go for the measure ; and the fact that they 
do not is a strong reason for believing that they honestly are of 
opinion that they cannot do so under the constitution. 

Let us examine the question then without prejudice. Can Con 
gress rightfully pass the measure ? The Federal Government is a 
Government of limited powers. It can lawfully do nothing not con 
templated in the constitution. The constitution is its charter. Is 
Congress empowered to make the laws ? 

In seeking to determine whether or not a proposed law be within 
the power of Congress to enact, we first, of course, look at the powers 
specifically granted by the constitution. These are set out in the 8th 
section of the ist article, and are contained in 17 clauses, each one 



308 LIFE OF VANCE. 

specifying some particular thing which Congress may do. But as the 
f ramers of the constitution wisely considered that it was not practica 
ble to enumerate every possible means and every proper measure by 
which the Congress should execute the specific powers, they super- 
added the i8th clause to that section, which is in the following words, 
to-wit: "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for 
carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers 
vested by this constitution in the Government of the United States or 
any department of officers thereof." The specific powers are usually 
spoken of as the express powers and the others as the implied powers. 
There can be no difficulty in determining what is an express power. It 
will speak for itself in the plain words of the constitution. As to de- 
terming an "implied" power under the above quoted clause of the 
8th section, the rule has been stated by Chief Justice Marshall in the 
case of McCullough vs. the State of Maryland, 4th Wheaton 421, and 
has been accepted without departure from that day to this. His words 
are : "Let the end be legitimate ; let it be within the scope of the 
constitution ; and by all means which are appropriate, which are 
plainly adopted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent 
with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional." 

Therefore in order to determine whether the enactment of the sub- 
Treasury bill be within the constitutional power of Congress, we 
must first look over the express powers mentioned in the instrument, 
and if we do not find such power there enumerated, we must then see 
if the provisions of the bill be in any way necessary and proper "for 
carrying into execution any of the express powers." 

If it be found that no such power is granted expressly, and that the 
law proposed is not fairly and reasonably auxiliary to some express 
power, as a means of carrying into execution that power, it is not in 
the language of the constitution "necessary and proper" to the execu 
tion of some express power, and it will not be contended by any one 
acquainted with the process of legal reasoning that the proposed law 
is authorized by the constitution. 

Now let any one run over the iyth clause of Section 8 and see if 
he can find there any power conferred on Congress to build ware 
houses in which to receive and deposit the products of farmers or any 
other class, and lend the owners money thereon. None such will be 
found. There is no such clause there. The power then is not ex- 
expressly granted. Then let the enquirer say, if there be found 
among the powers expressly granted any one, for the necessary and 
proper execution of which the government would be authorized to 
build warehouses, receive agricultural products on deposit and lend 
money thereon. No such clause can be found. These things then 
are not necessary and proper for the government to do, in order to 
exercise any power specifically conferred. They are not within "the 
scope of the constitution," nor "are they consistent with the letter 



LIFE OF VANCE. 309 

and spirit of the constitution. They are then not embraced in any 
implied power. 

Those who assert either that there is such an express power in the 
Constitution, or that there is such a power there as would make the 
lending of money to private parties on agricultural or other products 
a necessary and proper law for carrying it into execution, must prove 
it affirmatively. There is not a clause in the 8th section looking in 
such a direction. 

There is no clause under which it could possibly be claimed un 
less it be the first one, which is in these words, to-wit: "The Congress 
shall have power to pay and collect taxes, duties, imports and excises to 
pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general wel 
fare of the United States." The last words of this clause general 
welfare of the United States," are those under which nearly all the 
dangerous departures from true constitutional construction have been 
made. But even here the meaning is so obvious, they refer so mani 
festly to the welfare of the States in their corporate capacity, that 
no reasonable man, much less any Jeffersonian Democrat, can seriously 
hold that they confer upon Congress the power to provide for the 
welfare of any individual citizen. It is to provide for the defence of 
the country, the welfare of the country as a whole. The power to 
provide for defense and welfare of the individual citizen is left to 
the State. If not nothing is left to them. 

By the Constitution the State surrendered to the General Govern 
ment so much of their sovereignty as pertained to them in their inde 
pendent national charter, and which entitled them to deal with other 
nations on equal terms as sovereign, independent States; and it is in 
this capacity that Congress is authorized to provide for their common 
defense and general welfare, with the proceeds of the taxes which the 
clause gives it power to levy and collect. No court has ever held 
otherwise or doubted this. The clause is not applicable to individual 
citizens but the object of any action under it must be the defense and 
welfare of the United States. 

But suppose for a moment that the clause does mean that Congress 
has the power, and that it is therefore its duty to provide for the wel 
fare of the individual citizens of the United States; now not only all 
lawyers but all just men will admit that one citizen is as much deserv 
ing of the care of the government as another, and that each would 
have an equal claim to any favor which the government might confer. 
One of the prime maxims of our free institutions: "Equal rights to all 
and exclusive privileges to none." 

Now this matter necessarily involves the right and power of taxa 
tion; and in the matter of taxation the Courts of the country have 
again and again decided that no tax can be legally imposed upon the 
citizen except for a public purpose. The Supreme Court of the United 
States in the case of the Loan Association against Topeka, 2oth 



310 UFE OF VANCE. 

Wallace Reports p. 662 et seq., has gone so far as to declare that the 
right of a citizen to hold his property exempt from all taxation except 
such as may be levied for a public purpose to be "in every free govern 
ment, beyond the control of the State." * * * They say: "To lay with 
one hand the power of the Government on the property of the citizen, 
and with the other to bestow it upon favored individuals to aid private 
enterprises and build up private fortunes, is none the less a robbery 
because it is done under the form of laws, and is called taxation. This 
is not legislation it is a decree under legislative form." 
"We have established, we think, beyond cavil, that there can be no 
lawful tax when it is not laid for a public purpose." 

The sub-Treasury bill provides for the erection of warehouses, not 
for all the countries or people of the United States, but only for such 
as have a certain amount of surplus products for sale. They are to 
receive deposits, not from all who may have them and desire to borrow 
money upon them, but only from one class of the farmers. The mer 
chant, the manufacturer, or the mechanic, though he may have ever 
so much of valuable articles on hand, cannot receive this favor. Not 
even all farmers can participate in this case of the Government, but 
only those who grow corn, wheat, oats, cotton and tobacco. Those 
who have lumber, iron ore, pig iron, rice, peanuts, rosin and turpen 
tine, hay, potatoes, butter and cheese, bacon, lard, beef, mica, cotton 
seed oil or what not none of these are permitted to have their " gen 
eral welfare" provided for at public expense. Not one of them can 
deposit his products in the public warehouse under this bill, or borrow 
a single dollar ! Now apply our great maxim " equal rights to all and 
exclusive privileges to none," and recall the severe language of the 
Supreme Court in the case last cited, and any man can see that it is 
treating unequally citizens of equal merit, but that it would be as the 
court says, "robbery under the forms of law." These warehouses 
would have to be built by taxation ; the money lent to the " favored 
individuals " would be the proceeds of taxation also, and this taxation 
would be laying " with one hand the power of the government on the 
property of the citizen, and with the other, bestowing it upon favored 
individuals to aid private enterprises and build up private fortunes." 

Under the law, the citizen thus taxed could not himself possibly 
be benefitted or permitted to participate in the government s bene 
faction. 

If it be said that thus advancing the fortunes of a certain portion 
of the farming element would have a tendency to benefit the public at 
large, the same court in the same case furnishes the answer. It was 
considering the legality of certain bonds which had been used by a 
municipal corporation for the purpose of aiding in the establishment 
of manufactures in the town, and the court used the following words: 
"If it be said that a benefit results to the local public of a town by 
establishing manufactures, the same may be said of any other business 



OF VANCE. 311 

or pursuit which employs capital or labor. The merchant, the mechanic, 
the inn keeper, the banker, the builder, the steamboat owner, are 
equally promoters of the public good and equally deserving the aid of 
the citizens by forced contributons. So even if the power of Congress 
to provide for the common defence and general welfare extended to 
caring for individual citizens under these well known decisions the 
proposed measure could not stand in the courts. 

Indeed there can be no reasonable doubt but that our courts 
would hold first, that there is no power granted to Congress by the 
constitution for such a purpose, and that it was class legislation and 
that Congress had no power to levy taxation upon the masses for the 
exclusive benefit of the few. 

The assertion is made that the government establishes ware 
houses for the benefit of -distillers, and lends money to the banks, and 
the question is asked, why not do so for the farmers ? The answer is, 
the government does not build warehouses for the distillers. The 
distillers are required by Section 3172 of the revised statutes to erect 
their warehouses at their own expense. This is for their accommoda 
tion. The tax on the spirits is due immediately that the spirits are 
made, but inasmuch as the raw spirits are not saleable, the govern 
ment permits the distiller to deposit his product in a warehouse, built 
by himself and kept under government control, until the spirits 
become saleable, and it waits for the taxes in the meantime. 

Nor does the government lend money to the National Banks. On 
the contrary, whilst for the sake of uniformity and to prevent counter 
feiting it engraves and prints all their notes, it taxes them upon their 
circulation one per cent, to cover this expense. It has sometimes been 
claimed that this one per cent, is interest on money lent; but Mr. 
Ashton, who is a leading Allianceman in North Carolina, after a 
thorough examination of the subject, has stated in the columns of \he 
News and Observer that it is not interest; as a matter of fact what the 
government provides for the banks is not money, but unsigned bank 
notes, of no value when so handed to the banks at all. It is true that 
the government allows its collecting officers, for convenience and 
safety, to deposit money with the National Banks (if that can be called 
a loan) but only after the depository banks have deposited with the 
government a certain amount of United States bonds as security. The 
government does not lend money to the banks as claimed. 

It is said also that the Government receives deposits of silver bul 
lion, and issues its notes therefor, and the question is again asked why 
cannot the Government receive deposits of agricultural products and 
issue its notes therefor ? The answer is plain. Congress does not 
receive deposits of silver ; but it buys silver. Silver is a money metal, 
and Congress has the exclusive power, and is charged with the high 
duty of coining money. Silver and gold being money metals stand on 
a different footing from any other articles or commodities. 



3*2 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Viewed in every possible light it seems that such a bill as the 
proposed sub-Treasury bill would be flagrantly unconstitutional and 
violative not only of the solemn decisions of the Supreme Court, but 
of all the traditions of our wisest men and our best Democratic 
theories. 

It is not to be wondered at then that many conscientious public 
men and representatives find a difficulty in supporting it. 

Anxious as they naturally would be to go forward with the people, 
they have been compelled by their understanding to stop on the 
threshold of this measure. 

No one can doubt that they are sincerely desirous of serving their 
country and their constituents. No one can doubt that feeling and 
being witness themselves to the wrongs of the agricultural classes, 
their hearts burn with a desire and a purpose to do all they may do to 
bring relief. When these things are considered, and when in all sin 
cerity and truth, the Alliance realizes that this obstacle of unconstitu 
tionally stands in the way of the success of this particular measure, 
will it not be deemed unfortunate for so noble a cause to be so ob 
structed ? Let not the farmers handicap themselves in this way. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 313 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH. 

Excessive Labor Loss of Eye Goes Abroad Visits England, 
Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Egypt Gets Homesick 
Returns Not Improved Goes to Florida Has Bad Spells Lives 
Just Two Weeks After Return Last Illness Cheerful, Jocular at 
Times Reads Bible Talks of Old Friends and of His Absent 
Sons Solicitude for His Orphan Grand-children Preparing to 
Build Them a Cottage Grateful for Attention Thanks to Son 
and Servants Becomes Unconscious From Apoplexy Slow and 
Painless Death The Funeral in the Senate Trip to Raleigh 
Thence to Asheville Scenes on the Way Anxious Throngs at the 
Stations in North Carolina The Funeral at Asheville The Pro 
cession and Burial Public Memorial Meetings Everywhere 
Notably in Charlotte Speeches Resolutions Tributes in Prose 
and Poetry. 

ANCE S labors seemed to culminate in 1890. During 
that year he prepared and delivered more speeches 
in the Senate and elsewhere than in any other year of his 
life. Although in the full vigor of his mental and physical 
energies, he was in the sixtieth year of his age, and that 
fact should have admonished him of the importance of 
taking care of his health and strength. 

His labor and toil in the committee room, at his desk 
and elsewhere were arduous and unremitting, extending 
often from early in the day well into the night. It was a 
fatal mistake. His nervous system was over-worked. The 
muscles of his face and eyes, which had sustained a shock 
just after the war, again became affected, probably the 
immediate result of a fall from a wagon at Black Mountain 
shortly before. His suffering was so great and the symptoms 
so alarming, that his physicians advised the prompt removal 
of one of his eyes to save the other, and avert total blind 
ness. This operation was performed early in 1891, and 



314 LIFE OF VANCE. 

soon thereafter he made a trip abroad, in the hope that the 
change would bring him health and vigor again. He 
visited England, Scotland, Ireland and then France, Italy, 
and Germany, stopping at the principal cities. He afterwards 
went to Egypt. He brought home several ears of Egyptian 
corn and tried to raise from them in Buncombe, but did not 
succeed very well. He told his son on his return home 
that he was home-sick while abroad, and that the trip had 
made him a better American. 

His health continuing to decline after his return, he 
went in January, 1894, to Florida, visiting Tampa, Jackson 
ville, St. Augustine and Suwannee Springs. He had some 
bad attacks while in Florida, and was not much, if at all, 
benefitted by the trip. He lived just two weeks after return 
ing to Washington. Although a great sufferer in his last 
illness, he seldom lost his cheerfulness or good humor. His 
son, Charles N. Vance, writes: 

He talked about old friends, some who had long ago passed away, 
and others he had not seen for years. His mind seemed continually to 
revert to old times and old friends. His habit of jesting continued to 
the last; being asked by a friend if he suffered much from sea-sickness 
while on the ocean, he answered: "I threw up everything except my 
seat in the Senate." He took great interest in current events, and 
especially in the welfare of the Democratic party. He feared defeat 
was coming, but had an abiding faith in its immortality, and was con 
fident it would finally triumph over all opposition. He kept his Bible 
by his side and read it a great deal. He talked also of religious matters, 
and was anxious about his church membership, which he caused to be 
removed from a small church in Raleigh which my mother and himself 
had joined, and which had been disbanded, to the First Presbyterian 
Church in Charlotte. He was extremely grateful for attention, often 
saying to me as I was by his side day and night, "Thanks, my faithful 
boy." He also just before he died very feelingly expressed to his 
faithful serving man, Thomas, his sincere gratitude and thanks for his 
great kindness in serving and waiting upon him during his sickness. 

During his last illness he talked a great deal of Thom and Zeb, 
his sons who were in the West, and of his two little grand-daughters, 
Espy and Ruth, motherless daughters of his deceased son, David, and 
was having prepared plans for a cottage he intended building for these 
little orphan grand-children on a place he owned near Black Mountain, 
in Buncombe count} 7 . 



LIFE OF VANCE. 315 

The night of Friday, April 13, the one just previous to his death, 
was an unusually comfortable one for him. He rested well nearly all 
the night and ate his light breakfast on the morning of the I4th with 
relish. I remained with him during the night and left him about 8 
o clock Saturday morning, and went to the committee room at the 
Capitol, stopping on the way at Dr. Johnson s office to tell him of the 
restful night his patient had spent. About half- past ten or eleven 
o clock one of the Senate barbers who had gone to the house to shave 
father came into the committee room and told me father had sent for 
me to come to him at once. I immediately started, and on reaching 
his bedside found he had suffered a stroke of apoplexy. He was con 
scious, however, when I got there, and on my entering the room, he 
opened his eyes, raised his hand, and pointing to a chair by the head of 
his bed said: "Charley, stay here, stay here." These were the last 
words he ever uttered. I sat by him and took his hand, telling him I 
would stay. His eyes closed and he became unconscious and never 
rallied. He died about ten o clock that night. At the time of his 
death the house was full of friends, including Senator Ransom and 
most of the North Carolina Congressional delegation and many others. 
In his room and the one adjoining, w r ere his wife, myself and wife. 
Dr. Sterling Ruffin, a former North Carolinian, to whom the 
Senator was much attached, Dr. W. W. Johnson, Judge W. A. Hoke, 
Hon. Hoke Smith, Secretary Interior; T. J. Allison, of Statesville, 
N. C. , and several others. Rev. Dr. Pitzer, of the Southern Presbyterian 
Church, of Washington, was also present. The final end was peaceful 
and apparently devoid of suffering. 

The funeral ceremonies took place in the Senate cham 
ber on Monday, i6th, at 4 o clock. They were exceeding 
ly impressive. At 3 o clock the members of the Senate and 
House appointed to attend the funeral reached the Vance 
residence on Massachusetts Avenue and a few minutes 
afterwards the casket was placed in the hearse and taken to 
the Capitol under escort. Bight capital policemen under a 
lieutenant acted as body bearers. 

A delegation from Raleigh called on Mrs. Vance to 
request that the Senator s remains be interred in that city, 
but Mrs. Vance decided not to change her original plan to 
have the burial at Asheville where Senator Vance some 
time before had selected a site for his grave. 

When the Senate reassembled at 3:30 the galleries were 
packed with eager spectators. Large leather, crimson 



316 LIFE OF VANCE. 

colored upholstered arm chairs were in waiting for the 
family of the dead Senator, to the left of the Vice President, 
and for the President of the United States and his cabinet 
to the right. On the secretary s desk was an immense 
floral piece representing the broken trunk of an Ilex tree, 
a North Carolina growth, around which roses and other 
flowers were entwined. Along the walls at close intervals 
were ranged potted plants of palms and evergreens with 
two tall North Carolina pines on each side of the Presi 
dent s chair. 

At 3:50 the casket containing the remains of the dead 
Senator was borne into the chamber by a squad of uniformed 
capitol police, and placed on a bier in the area. It was 
preceded by the commitee of arrangements of the two 
houses, the members of which wore white scarfs and was 
accompanied by the honorary pall-bearers, wearing black 
scarfs. The top of the casket was covered with a profusion 
of roses and lillies. Then, immediately afterwards, the 
deputy sergeant-at-arms, Mr. Layton, announced the arrival 
at the main entrance of the chamber of the Speaker and 
members of the House of Representatives. The Vice Presi 
dent and Senators stood up and remained standing while 
the members of the House were seeking their seats the 
Speaker taking his seat beside the Vice President, at his 
right hand and the members theirs on the Democratic side 
of the chamber which had been entirely vacated by Sena 
tors. Next came and were received with like honors the 
Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court 
of the United States, who took chairs in the second row 
on the Democratic side leaving the chairs on the front row 
to be occupied by the President of the United States and 
the members of his cabinet. Then "the ambassador of 
England to the United States " was announced and all 
present stood up while Sir Julian Pauncefote was conducted 
to his place. 

The President of the United States took his seat in a 



LIFE OF VANCE. 317 

morocco covered arm-chair at the head of the line of chairs 
in the front row. Next to him sat Secretary Gresham, of 
the State Department, and then came Secretaries Carlisle, 
Herbert, Smith, Morton, Postmaster General Bissell, and 
Attorney General Olney. At the end of the room Sir Julian 
Pauncefote sat, and near him Bishop Keane, of the Catholic 
University. 

The religious observances were begun with prayer and 
the reading of scriptural selections by Rev. Dr. Moses 
Hoge, of Richmond, Va. Then Dr. Hoge delivered an 
eloquent and touching funeral address. 

The benediction was pronounced by Chaplain Milburn, 
and then the coffin, with the remains of the dead Senator, 
was borne out by the capitol police, attended by the hon 
orary pall-bearers and the committee of the two houses. 
The invited guests left the chamber in the inverse order 
of their arrival. The funeral procession was formed in 
the eastern plaza of the capitol and moved to the Pennsyl 
vania Railroad station, from which the train left for Ral 
eigh at 9 p. m. 

The special funeral train bearing the remains of the dis 
tinguished Senator, after a full night s travel, arrived at 
Raleigh at 9:30 Tuesday morning over the Richmond & 
Danville Railroad. Thousands of his old comrades and 
fellow citizens received all that was left of the most popu 
lar man the State has probably ever produced. The train 
reached Danville at early dawn and hundreds were out to 
demonstrate their affection for the sister State. At Greens 
boro and other points along the route immense crowds 
could hardly be pressed aside from the car which con 
tained the remains. Before Durham was reached the toll 
ing of bells from the great Durham Tobacco Works and 
the appearance of half-masted flags bore evidence of her 
grief, while an anxious multitude of old veterans pressed 
in to see their "Zeb," and it was with difficulty they were 
forced from the cars. 



318 UFE OF VANCE. 

The Governor s Guard was drawn up on the south side 
the station at Raleigh and presented arms as the casket 
was placed in the hearse. The casket was covered with 
black cloth in the most elaborate design, and borne by eight 
colored men. The hearse was drawn by four black horses, 
with black trappings. A procession was formed and the 
march to the capitol was begun. The procession moved 
slowly in the following order: Police officers, the Gov 
ernor s Guard, the hearse, the United States escort, the 
State escort, State officers, Supreme Court and Superior 
Court judges, the mayor and aldermen, citizens on foot and 
in carriages, the young lady pupils of St. Mary s School. 
Many places of business were closed and there was a most 
respectful silence on the streets. During the passage of 
the procession the city bell was tolled. The procession 
made its way to the western portal of the capitol, and there, 
while the military again presented arms, the body was 
borne into the building. The casket was placed upon the 
catafalque and at 10:20 was opened, so that the familiar 
face of the dead Senator was exposed to view. The ex 
pression was wonderfully life-like, the embalmer having 
done admirable work. The casket rested upon a catafalque 
of pyramidal form, covered with pine leaves and those of 
the magnolia with native wild flowers from Vance s own 
beloved Carolina woods. At the foot of the casket were 
two young pine trees. It was covered with flowers. Around 
in the rotunda were palms and other evergreen plants. 

The funeral cortege moved back to the train at 4 o clock 
and at 4:30 p, m. it left for Asheville. A stop of half an hour 
was made at Durham and two hours at Greensboro. Thous 
ands of people passed through the car and viewed the 
remains at these places. 

The crowds that thronged the stations along the way to 
Asheville delayed the train by their urgent demands to see, 
at least the casket, and they rilled the funeral car with 
magnificent floral offering. Each halt added beautiful 



OF VANCE. 319 

flowers marked, " From the Ladies to our Zeb," and when 
Asheville was finally reached, and the funeral car was 
opened for the last time, it required the aid of a company 
of militia to remove the tributes. The Asheville Light 
Infantry escorted the remains from the train to the church 
and mounted guard over them while the reverent crowd 
passed to take a last look at the beloved, familiar face. The 
scene was especially touching when the Confederate vet 
erans took leave of their old commander. After these came 
several of the Senator s old slaves. 

The funeral escort from Washington consisted of Sena 
tors Ransom, George, Gray, Blackburn, Dubois and Chandler, 
and Representatives Henderson, Crawford and Alexander, 
of North Carolina; Black, of Illinois; Brookshire, of Indiana; 
Strong, of Ohio, and Daniels, of New York, and Gen. W. R. 
Cox, Secretary of the Senate. These were joined at Raleigh 
by Governor Elias Carr, Secretary of State Octavius Coke, 
Treasurer S. McD. Tate, Attorney-General F. I. Osborne, 
Auditor R. M. Furman, Railroad Commissioner J. W. Wil 
son, Judge Avery, of the Supreme Court, ex-Governor 
Jarvis, R. H. Battle, Thos. S. Kenan, Josephus Daniels, 
E. J. Hale, and many others. In Mrs. Vance s party were 
Mrs. Goodloe, of Kentucky; Miss Hoke, of Lincolnton, 
N. C. ; Mrs. Allison and mother, of Statesville, and Mrs. 
Chas. N. Vance. 

The pall bearers at Asheville were Judge Jas. H. Merri- 
mon, W. H. Penland, Jas. L. McKee, G. S. Powell, J. H. 
McDowell, W. H. Malone, Jas. E. Rankin, T. S. Johnston 
and J. B. Brevard. 

The procession to the cemetery was formed in the fol 
lowing order: Mounted police, Asheville Light Infantry, 
Bingham Cadets, pall-bearers in carriages, special escort of 
Rough and Ready Guards surrounding the hearse, family 
of the deceased, congressional committees, Governor and 
staff, city and county officers, Masonic order, Survivors 
Association, Grand Army of the Republic, Odd Fellows, 



320 UFE OF VANCE. 

Knights of Pythias, Royal Arcanum and Knights of Honor. 
These were followed by different labor organizations and 
the entire city fire department. The procession, both civic 
and military, numbered about 10,000, while thousands 
looked on as spectators. The streets through which the 
procession passed were draped in mourning, and from the 
front of the county court house hung a large portrait of the 
Senator, while stretching from the belfry on both sides to 
the ground were cords from which waved the marine sig 
nals which spelled "We Mourn for Zebulon Vance." 

The ceremony at the grave was exceedingly solemn and 
was conducted by Rev. Dr. Campbell, of the First Presby 
terian church, after which the floral offerings were grace 
fully placed, and thus North Carolina buried a son whose 
place may be partly filled in the council halls of the nation, 
but never in the hearts of her people. 

But this was not all of Vance s funeral, nor the greater 
part. The people of North Carolina were sorely bereaved. 
Their grief was poignant. Their idol had been broken 
in pieces and their vases shattered. I^ike Rachel weeping 
for her children, they refused to be comforted. In all 
parts of the State the people met together in towns and 
villages to express their sorrow and testify of their love 
and affection. The high and the low, the humble and the 
exalted mingled their tears upon the common altar of 
grief. No North Carolinian ever had such a funeral and 
it is doubtful if any citizen of any State, with the possible 
exception of Jefferson Davis, ever had a like funeral such 
a universal going forth of the people to hold memorial 
services and by resolutions and speeches in their towns, at 
their court houses and places of worship, to testify their 
deep sense of the great bereavement which had fallen upon 
them. An entire volume would be required to describe 
these meetings, with the speeches made and resolutions 
passed, and yet it would all be very interesting and instruc 
tive as showing how a great and good man, by his devotion 



LIFE OF VANCE. 321 

and love for his people, may in turn cause their love and 
affection to be lavished upon him. 

On the day before the funeral at Asheville a large crowd 
assembled in the auditorium in Charlotte, several thousand 
of all ages, all classes and conditions. The proceedings of 
this meeting are described in the Charlotte Observer as 
follows : 

Beautiful and touching speeches were made but the gem of 
all was that of the long time law partner of the dead Senator. His 
voice was full of tears, his whole being quivering with sincere and 
ill-suppressed emotion, and it almost seemed that drops of blood from 
his lacerated heart lingered about the words which fell from his lips. 
He said: " If I should say this bereavement came as a personal one to 
me I should only say what was true of every man, woman and child 
in the State, for the Governor w T as loved by all. No man before him 
was ever so universally loved. His image seemed to be engraved upon 
the hearts of all his people. He was especially the friend of the com 
mon people, even little children instinctively knew he was their 
friend." The speaker told of two country men, who during the late 
campaign inquired of him \vhether Vance was coming to Charlotte. 
No, was the reply; he is not strong enough to speak. " Oh, we don t 
want him to speak. We just want to see him one more time," said 
one. " I would ride ten miles through the rain the worst day in the 
winter just to get to see the side of his face," said the other. 

" No one thoroughly knew him," continued the speaker. "I did 
not. He was not built to the measure of other men. He was a great 
reader and student of history. He loved old books and ancient stories 
and characters. He was fond of taking Cyrus, Alexander, Caesar, 
Hannibal, and getting the gist of their campaigns, comparing them 
with similar campaigns of modern times. He even found time to make 
detours into astronomy and geology. He had many adversaries ; he 
was in many battles and conflicts, but I don t think* he had an enemy 
when he died. In his great big heart there was no place for enmity. 
His life was pure, and no scandal was ever attached to his name. 
They will lay him to rest among the mountains where his boyhood and 
early life were spent, and from that lofty couch he will be among the 
very first to catch the dawn of the eternal day." 

This surpassingly eloquent peroration was greeted with an unsup- 
pressed and uncontrollable outburst of applause, which, yet at the same 
time seemed somehow to be muffled and in mourning. 

The Rev. Dr. Preston, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, said 
he thought one of the most remarkable things about this remarkable 
man, and which made most for his remarkable career, was the train 
ing of his mother. She had laid the foundation for his character and 

22 



322 LIFE OF VANCE. 

reputation to rest upon. He pictured the Governor in his old pew in 
the First Presbyterian church in former days; he was not a communi 
cant then, but had the knowledge of his mother s training as a holy 
inspiration, but it was not till after the death of his wife that he con 
nected himself with any church; that most appalling family affliction, 
the greatest calamity that can befall any man, was the chart and com 
pass which guided him to port. Governor Vance was then found, not 
uniting with some strong church, but with a little struggling church 
in Raleigh, and recently, when occasion came to remove his member 
ship, he placed it in the old church in Charlotte, so fragrant to him, 
doubtless, with sweet associations. 

Perhaps there was never before a memorial meeting held in honor 
of a great Gentile prince at which an Israelite stood up and paid such a 
tribute as did Mr. Samuel Wittkowsky to the memory of Zebulon B. 
Vance. He spoke of how Vance had won the hearts of the Hebrews of 
this vState and country by the full measure of justice he accorded them 
in his famous lecture on the "Scattered Nation," and he said no 
Israelite ever voted against Vance. Such a blow has fallen upon our 
State and country that it will take long years to overcome it. In com 
mon with the million and a half of North Carolina s sons and daughters 
I wish to give expression not only to my feelings personally on this 
melancholy event, but I speak also for my race in the State and 
throughout the Union. The deceased has ever by his words and acts 
demonstrated that he was their friend. And now, fellow-citi 
zens, let us perpetuate his memory and teach our children 
to emulate his example, and let us instruct our children to 
instruct their children and their children s children to revere his 
memory, and that wherever their lot may be cast and they are asked 
where they came from, to point with pride to the State which gave 
birth to Zebulon B. Vance. 

The next speaker was Col. Hamilton C. Jones, and his was 
a very beautiful tribute, indeed, and deserves a full report 
which a lack of time forbids. He related among other things 
that after Vance had been elected to the United States Senate, while 
Governor of the State, and was about leaving for Washington, I saw 
him and said this honor must be very pleasing and gratifying to you, 
and he replied as God is my judge, be assured I would rather serve the 
people as Governor than to be the foremost Senator in the United 
States. Col. Jones said Senator Vance was easily first among all the 
statesmen North Carolina had produced ; that he did not understand 
the art of mere politics. His triumphs came from honest purpose and 
right conviction. 

Rev. Dr. Pritchard, who followed Col. Jones, said he once thought 
Gaston, and again Badger, the greatest North Carolinian, but now he 
was fully convinced that Vance was more than the peer of either of 
them. He related that he once told Vance he heard him quote a 



UFE OF VANCE. 323 

Scripture passage unwarrantedly and inaptly. The Senator acknowl 
edged that it was true and thanked Dr. Pritchard for the " merited 
rebuke," and added that he was taught in the Scripture by his mother 
and an aunt, and that a day never passed without his reading the Bible 
and that he would try to be thenceforth more careful. 

A second memorial meeting was held at the same place 
the day after the burial, the attendance being large and 
principally from the country. The following account of it 
is from the facile pen of Miss Addie Williams, the talented 
city editor of the Daily Observer: 

"Vance, of, by and for the people," said Capt. Ardrey yesterday. 

Surely no man was ever loved as this one. Country and town 
assembled yesterday to do honor to his memory. 

The auditorium held between two and three thousand people. An 
audience composed of high and low, rich and poor, country and town 
people. Just such an assemblage has not been seen here before. The 
country people began coming in early yesterday morning. Every 
township in the county was represented. All came with like impulse 
and sentiment with fervid desire to pay tribute to "Zeb Vance," the 
people s idol. 

There were on the rostrum, besides the singers, Rev. Dr. Preston, 
Major C. Dowd, Capt. W. E. Ardrey, Major S. W. Reid, Dr. J. B. Alex 
ander, Col. J. E. Brown, Messrs. J. M. Kirkpatrick, C. W Tillett, J. P. 
Alexander, John Springs Davidson, H. K. Reid, and J. Hervy Hen 
derson. 

On motion of Mr. Henderson, Capt. Ardrey was called to the 
chair. The press representatives present were requested to act as 
secretaries. The religious part of the service was, by the request of 
the committee, conducted by Rev. Dr. Preston, who led the vast audi 
ence in a prayer, in which he thanked God for the life of "this great 
and good man whom we are called together to pay tribute to. We 
thank Thee that he died in full communion with the Church. We 
also thank Thee for the sorrows that gathered around his life that 
may have influenced him in becoming a Christian ; for his pure exam 
ple, and may we, like him, be able to ascribe all the power and glory 
to Thy name. Amen." 

Dr. Preston then announced that Senator Vance s favorite hymn 
would be sung. Said he: "We can tell what a man thinks by know 
ing what he likes sung, for music appeals to the soul. Gov. Vance 
loved this old hymn of the church, Jesus, Lover of My Soul, and let 
all stand now and sing it, here in this building where he stood for the 
last time in Charlotte a year ago this May." 

The vast audience, in response to Dr. Preston s suggestion, rose 



324 LIFE OF VANCE. 

to its feet, and such a wave of melody went up that the billows of 
sound seemed overladen. It was the people s requiem over the dead 
and loved Vance. 

After the hymn, Capt. W. E. Ardrey addressed the audience. 

"We have met," said he, "to do honor to a great man. This meet 
ing was called in honor of our great Senator, Zebulon B. Vance. He 
was of the people, by the people and for the people, and he lives in 
the hearts of the people. It is a delight to honor this great and glori 
ous man. While North Carolina has its Gastons, Grahams and others, 
she can boast of only one Zeb Vance. He was her great leader. 
Wherever he lead the people followed. He had no will of his own 
when her interests were at stake. His bidding was from God and his 
country. He was poor because he was honest. His name will be 
handed down with that of Webster, Calhoun and other great men. 
Whoever his mantel falls on will receive a pure and spotless one. We 
thank God to-day, my friends, that he died with clean hands and a pure 
neart. Let us teach our children to honor and revere the name of 
Zebulon Baird Vance." 

Maj. Dowd, by request, then read the following resolutions, which 
were unanimously adopted: 

"The death of Zebulon B. Vance is a national calamity. It is a 
sore bereavement to the people of his own beloved State and brings 
sadness and sorrow into every heart. The people of Mecklenburg 
county, without distinction of age, sex or condition, have assembled 
to pay tribute to the memory of this illustrious citizen. 

"Resolved, That in the death of Senator Vance the government 
and people of the United States have lost from the counsels of the 
nation a wise statesman, a devoted patriot, a man of eminent abilities 
and conspicuous devotion to duty. 

"Resolved, That the people of North Carolina, in the death of 
this eminent man, are called upon to mourn the loss of their best 
beloved friend and their most faithful and devoted public servant, 
whose whole life was given with singular fidelity to the interests of all 
the people of the State, the high as well as the low, the poor as well as 
the rich, and the lowliest, most humble, in like manner with the most 
exalted. 

" Resolved, That we shall cherish the memory of this good man 
for his great intellectual gifts, for his glowing and warm-hearted sym 
pathy and affection for his people, for his singular devotion to their 
interests throughout his long and illustrious career, and for his con 
spicuous public and private virtues, which shone no less bright, 
whether in the sunshine of peace and prosperity or in the darkness 
and shadows of a long and bloody civil war. His memory is enshrined 
in the hearts of a grateful and devoted people, especially his neighbors 
and countrymen here present, who knew him best and loved him most, 
and will be cherished and preserved with affection and love so long as 
life shall last. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 325 

" Resolved, That the papers of the city be requested to publish 
these resolutions." 

A second beautiful tribute was paid to Governor Vance by his 
friend and former law partner, Major Dowd. He referred to his pre 
vious talk, and said that this occasion was one on which the fullness 
of the heart kept the mouth from speaking. Senator Vance, he said, 
might be considered an easy subject to eulogize, but yet he was not. 
You could say he was a great Senator, great Congressman, great lawyer, 
great soldier, great big-hearted man, and yet the subject would not be 
exhausted. There would be required a few more touches of the brush 
to bring out the portraiture of Zeb Vance. He was unique; he was 
great, grand, noble and pure. Say all that could be said, and you have 
the biggest, best man North Carolina ever produced. [Applause.] He 
had all the great qualities that go to make up a man. Nature could 
stand by and say "this is a man." Why did the common people love 
him ? Because of that big heart the great God gave him to beat in 
response to his people all over the country. [Applause.] He never 
asked whether this or that is popular; he seemed to know intuitively 
what was best for his people. Who but Vance would ever have thought 
of having scythes and cotton-cards brought over in the vessels for the 
people during the war ? His great power, besides his personal magne 
tism, was that he was honest, clean and pure. He never had an enemy. 
That little mound in Asheville is crowned by the good will of his 
adversaries as well as the thousands of his friends. 

Maj. Dowd recalled Vance s and Settle s visit here. Vance, he 
said, knew that the bands would be out, flags flying, escorts awaiting 
him, and that Settle should not feel the lack of such, sent to 
Wadsworth s and got four handsome black horses, had them hitched 
to a carriage and called for Settle himself, taking him to the speaking 
seated by his side. 

Maj. Dowd paused a minute before passing on to the next part of 
his address. His eyes rilled with tears and his voice was soft and low 
when he said, " I want to tell you now of his last hours. I attended 
the funeral and had a short talk with his widow. She said her hus 
band was conscious up to a short time before his death. He knew he 
was going to die, but was too considerate of her and the children to 
talk of it. He told her he only thought of it enough to keep himself 
right with his God. The barber from the capitol came to shave him 
Saturday morning, but he was too sick to be shaved. Mrs. Vance 
noticed a look in his eye that she knew meant that the end was near. 
She told the barber to go back to the capitol and tell Charlie to 
come, and turning, said to the Governor, Husband, what must David 
tell them at the capitol ? Just the truth, the truth, he said. As the 
barber left, he drew Mrs. Vance s face down to his and kissed her. 
Shortly after the cook came in to ask how he was. Senator Vance 
looked at him and said, Thomas, you have been very kind to me, and 



326 LIFE OF VANCE. 

I want to thank you. His ruling passion was strong in death. Tell 
them the truth, he said, and turning to that humble man he thanked 
him for kindnesses. Such a funeral no man in North Carolina ever 
had. He sleeps by the broad river, typical, in its endless flow, of 
eternity, while lavish wreaths from loving hearts cover his grave." 

Dr. J. B. Alexander was the next speaker. He paid a beautiful 
tribute to the great Vance. "No man," said he, "since the days of 
Nehemiah has ever had such love for his people as Senator Vance. 
During reconstruction all eyes were turned to him. He was a Samson 
in the camp. He was a man without a peer ; North Carolina s noblest 
son. We loved him because he loved us. Let all bring garlands to 
deck his grave and perpetuate his memory." 

Mr. H. K Reid, of Sharon, was next called on, and made one of 
the best talks of the day. "The nation," said he, "mourns the loss 
of her purest statesman, and North Carolina the loss of her best 
beloved son. This is an unusual meeting. Men of all classes are 
here to-day to do honor to Vance. It is right that the country people 
be allowed to take part in the meeting, to pay their tribute to him 
who in these degenerate days, while others are proving treacherous, 
never betrayed a trust and never faltered in his devotion to his peo 
ple. Our noble Senator fell in defense of the rights of the people he 
loved so well, and well may North Carolina weep over the death of 
him who was her best friend in the counsels of the nation." 

Major S. W. Reid, of Steel Creek, was next asked to make some 
remarks. He thanked the people, of Charlotte for providing the 
opportunity of allowing the people to express their opinions. "There 
is no citizen, however humble," said he, "but can pay their humble 
tribute and say they loved Vance. Leaving out Gladstone, I know of 
no other so great. As parents love to recall, after the death of a 
child, the many little things it said or did, so Vance s people will love 
to tell of this or that remark they recall." Here the speaker told of 
once being in South Carolina and seeing Senator Butler. He remarked 
to him, that he was almost as big a man as Zeb Vance. "No," said 
Butler, "Vance is a great man." "Nature," continued Mr. Reid, 
"seemed to have exerted herself to make a grand man, as the Observer 
said, he was an all round man. He was the father of North Caro 
lina, and no father ever risked more for his children than did Vance 
for his State. He loved his God and his people." 

Mr. John Springs Davidson was the next speaker. He paid an 
enthusiastic and loving tribute to Senator Vance. "It is the duty of 
every citizen in the United States to pay tribute to Senator Vance," 
said he. "If God had spared his life he would have occupied the 
highest position in the gift of the people. [Great applause]. I say to 
the young men of Mecklenburg to take Zeb Vance as their model. 
There may be a Zeb Vance in this audience. Emulate his example. 
He was the greatest man of this day and of this generation." 



LIFE OF VANCE. 327 

Next followed Mr. J. W. Moore, of Hopewell, in one of the best 
talks of the day. He said that he had often heard it said that North 
Carolina was the best place to be born in and the best to move from. 
Vance thought the latter not true. Vance became prominent although 
he did not leave his native State. Experts could not analyze Vance s 
character. The great question is asked, why was it the people loved 
Zeb Vance better than they did any one else ? It was because he was 
true and honest, and loved them. He never asked, " does it pay ?" 
but " is it right ?" The North Carolina troops were better fed than 
any other, and all during the war this " War Governor s " first thought 
was his people. The names of Vance and Governor Seymour, of New 
York, will stand out as the two prominent figures of war days. He 
had the biggest heart in the world. At Salisbury, when the Federal 
soldiers could not be provided food sufficient to supply their need, 
Vance fed them as much as his own soldiers. Mr. Moore advised the 
college boys of the State, when they wanted a subject for their com 
positions, to go no more to Rome because a greater than Caesar was 
here in North Carolina history. 

Mr. J. P. Alexander next paid his tribute to Vance. He dwelt 
particularly on the war record of the great war Governor. "Where is 
the State," said he, "that has produced another Vance, or any one like 
him ? There was no Mason s and Dixon s line separating the goodwill 
of the people. The North honored him as well as did the South. Pie 
was the greatest man America has ever produced." 

Col. J. E. Brown followed with a sincere and beautiful tribute 
bearing on the remarkable record of Vance as a soldier and war 
Governor. His passing down the line was inspiration to his soldiers 
to follow him, even into the jaws of death. In the legislative halls he 
stood the peer of any man. Col. Brown attributed the strength of his 
character to the teachings derived from his mother in early life, and 
his w r onderful familiarity and use of the Bible. 

The gem of all the talks was reserved for the last that of Mr. C. W. 
Tillett. From the moment he repeated the first sad words "Zeb 
Vance is dead" through every tear-bedimmed utterance, the people 
sat enrapt, and handkerchief after handkerchief went faceward to 
catch the falling tears : 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! Few and short are these cruel words which 
men with lips compressed and cheeks all blanched have whispered one 
to another; and yet they bear the message of the greatest grief which 
ever yet has filled the Old North State. 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! Ring out the funeral bells and let their 
mournful tones re-echo in the empty chambers of the hearts once filled 
with gladsome sounds of his loved voice. 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! And mirth herself hath put on mourning ; 
and laughter, child of his most genial brain, hath hid her face in tears. 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! The fires of party strife are quenched ; and 



328 LIFE OF VANCE. 

throbbing hearts and tear-beclouded eyes tell more than words of 
grandest eloquence the anguish of the people s minds and how they 
loved him. 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! Soldier, statesman, patriot, friend! In war 
and peace, the one of all her sons to whom his mother State looked 
most for succor and relief; and can it be that in the days to come, 
when dreaded dangers threaten all around, we nevermore can call for 
him before whose matchless powers in days gone by our enemies have 
quailed and fled ? 

"Zeb Vance is dead! His was a name you could conjure with, 
and oftimes in the past, when this loved Commonwealth of ours has 
been stirred to its inmost depths, and men knew not which way to go 
nor what to say, the cry was sounded forth that Vance is coming, 
and from the mountain fastness of the west and the everglades of the 
eastern plains, the people came who never would come forth to hear 
another living man, and gathering around in countless multitudes, 
they hung upon his every word with eager eye and listening ear, and 
all he told them they believed because our Vance had said it. 

"Zeb Vance is dead! And where shall come the man to tell the world 
soul-inspiring story of his hero life? How, coming forth from humble 
home, he baffled and o ercame the fates that would have crushed 
beneath their feet a man of meaner mould; how serving faithfully and 
well in every trust committed unto him, he soon won first place in the 
hearts of all his countrymen and held that place for three score years 
unto the end; how, when his native land was plunged in throes of 
civil strife, he went forth in the front rank to defend and save her and 
fought with valor all her foes; how called to rule as chief executive in 
times that tried men s souls, he ruled so wisely and so well; how when 
the war was over and the cause was lost when down upon his bleed 
ing, prostrate country came the horde of vampires from the North to 
suck the last remaining drops of life blood from his people, he rose 
with power almost divine and drove them back; and then with gentle 
hand he caused the wounds to heal and his loved land to prosper once 
again as in the years gone by; and how at last, when after years of 
faithful, honest toil, upon his noble form was laid the icy hand of 
death, he bowed his head in meek submission to His will and yielded 
up to God his manly soul! Who can be found to sing the praise of 
such a one, and who can speak the anguish of the people s hearts at 
his untimely death ? 

" Zeb Vance is dead ! He was the friend and tribune of the people. 
Though he rose to place where he held converse with the great and 
mighty of the earth, his sympathetic heart was open wide to all man 
kind, and his strong arm was first stretched forth to lift the lowliest 
of the sons of men that cried to him for help, and in the Nation s 
Senate halls his voice was ever lifted up to plead the cause of the 
down-trodden and oppressed against the favored classes and the 
money kings. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 329 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! And when he died, a poor man died ; for 
though he stood where oft there was within his grasp the gains of 
millions if he would but swerve from right and reach it, he cast it all 
aside with scorn, and dying, left his sons and all the people of his 
land the priceless legacy of an honest and untarnished name. 

" Zeb Vance is dead ! And yet he lives ; the influence of his noble 
words and honest life can never die ; and in the years to come men 
gathering round their firesides at the evening hour shall tell their sons 
of him and how he scorned a lie and scorned dishonest gains. 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! But he shall live forever more. Oh, blessed 
truth, which Mary s Son, the God-man, taught when standing near 
the tomb with His all-conquering foot upon the skull of death, He 
called forth Lazarus unto life, and told a listening world the thrilling 
truth that whosoever lived and in His name believed should never die. 

"Zeb Vance is dead ! If it be truth 

That men may rise on stepping stones 
Of their dead selves to higher things, 

" Oh, grander truth, that a nation too may rise on stepping stones of 
her dead hero sons unto a higher life. And God vouchsafe that our 
own State, while weeping o er the grave of him, her best-loved, most 
honored son, may yet be thereby lifted into a grander, nobler life." 

OUR VANCE is DEAD. 

Low lies our hero s head : the muffled bell, 
In solemn tones, bespeaks the funeral knell ; 
Its quaintly mournful measures seem to tell 
The passage of a human soul from mortal shores, 
In some weird craft, propelled by spirit oars, 
O er seas Eternal, to that unknown bourn,, 
Whither, hath journeyed, every friend we mourn : 
From whence, no human soul hath e er returned, 
A tale to tell of what he may have learned. 
And sad it be that mourning friends, no more 
On earth, may know of those, who ve gone before : 
The wife, the child, however much they grieve, 
No message, sign, nor token, may receive, 
To hint the fate of him so loved, so dear, 
And who, unseen, may still be lingering near ; 
Perchance, in spirit, knows each joy or woe, 
Or hope or fear, the friend of earth may know. 

Our Vance is dead How pale his lips and dumb. 
And nevermore may loving accents come 
From those mute organs, nor shall Senate Halls 
Resound with forceful eloquence, that falls 
From lips of his, now silent as is death : 



330 LIFE OF VANCE. 

From mortal clay, has fled the vital breath. 
No more shall Buncombe s hardy yeoman meet 
In mighty throngs, her honored son to greet ; 
Upon his words to hang, and list the strain 
Of noble thought and theme, in lofty vein 
And patriotic, firing souls to thought, 
And deed, most worthy of the cause he sought, 
The best good of his country, and his State. 
Alas ! the swift-winged Messenger of Fate, 
Full soon, o ertakes all men, however great ; 
While folded in his wings, he ever bears, 
To man, a respite from his earthly cares ; 
A final answer to this problem, deep : 
Is death or no one long, eternal sleep. 

Our Vance is dead : He chose the better part ; 
Though poor in purse, how nobly rich in heart. 
Nor did he seek the sordid things of earth, 
But fain aspired to those of royal worth. 
He sought a loyal people s good esteem ; 
Their love and honor was his dearest dream. 
This Commonwealth, that proudly claims his birth, 
Hath shown him honors, and esteemed his worth : 
Thrice hath he won her Gubernatorial Chair ; 
To govern justly, was his greatest care ; 
To Halls of Congress, twice he hath been sent, 
And chosen thrice his State to represent, 
Among the Solons of his Land a Peer, 
Unbribed by Favor, and unswerved by Fear. 
And now he s passed away, beloved and great, 
The very idol of the Old North State. 
Among her mountains, grand, his body lies, 
Her honored Hero, and her Statesman, wise. 
His words and deeds, recalled, will be, I deem, 
For years to come, the story teller s theme. 

C. Clarke Brown, in The Register. 

ZEBUI,ON BAIRD VANCE. 1830-1894. 

Son of the mountain side, 

Thy work is done! 
Thy toil is o er, and from the shore 

Thy bark hath gone. 

Heart so broad and free, 

We ll miss thee long! 
In martial strife, or calmer life, 

So brave and strong. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 331 

Thou of the nobler mind 

Than oft we see, 
No valliant fight for truth and right, 

But e er had thee. 

State that he loved so well, 

Forever keep 
Sacred his name, his lasting fame, 

Till all shall sleep. 

William Thornton Whitsett. 



33 2 LIFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

EULOGIES IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. 

Orations by His Colleagues in the Senate Ransom, Merrill, Sherman, 
Gray, Blackburn, George, Dubois, Chandler and Jarvis. 



following eloquent and pathetic orations were 
J_[ delivered by Vance s colleagues in the Senate on 
January i9th, 1895: 

[Address of Mr. Ransom.] 

MR. PRESIDENT : The Senate is asked to render its last 
duties of honor and sorrow to the memory of the Hon. 
Zebulon Baird Vance, late a Senator from North Carolina. 

In this Chamber on the i6th of last April, two days after 
his death, the Senate lighted its black torches around the 
lifeless form of that most honored and beloved son of our 
State, and his mortal figure, covered with the white flowers 
of spring and love, and hallowed by the sacred devotions of 
religion, passed amid tears like a shadow from these por 
tals forever. To-day his associates on this floor are here 
to place on the ever-living annals of the Senate the record 
of their admiration and affection for his virtues. 

In 1878 he was elected to the Senate, and until he died 
remained a member of this body, having been elected four 
times a Senator. His record in the Senate is part of the 
nation s history. From the beginning he was an active, 
earnest debater, a constant, faithful worker, a dutiful, 
devoted Senator, aspiring and laboring for the welfare and 
honor of the whole country. He was at all times on the 
important committees of the body, and took a prominent 
part in the discussion of almost every leading question. 
He was the unceasing advocate of revenue reform, uncom 
promisingly opposed to civil service, and the ardent friend 
of silver money and its free coinage by the Government. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 333 

He vigilantly defended the rights, honor, and interests of 
the Southern States, not from sectional passion or preju 
dice, but because it was his duty as a patriot to every State 
and to the Union. He was bold, brave, open, candid, 
and without reserve. He desired all the world to know 
his opinions and positions and never hesitated to avow 
them. 

His heart every moment was in North Carolina. His 
devotion to the State and people was unbounded; his solici 
tude for her welfare, his deep anxiety in all that concerned 
her, and his ever readiness to make every sacrifice in her 
behalf was daily manifested in all his words and actions. 
Senator Vance was an uncommon orator. He spoke with 
great power. His style was brief, clear, and strong. His 
statements were accurate and definite, his arguments com 
pact and forcible, his illustrations unsurpassed in their 
fitness. His wit and humor were the ever-waiting and 
ready handmaids to his reasoning, and always subordinated 
to the higher purpose of his speech. They were torch- 
bearers, ever bringing fresh light. He always instructed, 
always interested, always entertained, and never wearied 
or fatigued an audience, and knew when to conclude. 
The Senate always heard him with pleasure, and the 
occupants of the galleries hung upon his lips, and with 
bended bodies and outstretched necks would catch his every 
word as it fell. 

He rarely, if ever, spoke without bringing down applause. 
His wit was as inexhaustible as it was exquisite. His 
humor was overflowing, fresh, sparkling like bubbling drops 
of wine in a goblet; but he husbanded these rare resources 
of speech with admirable skill, and never displayed them 
for ostentation. They were weapons of offense and defense, 
and were always kept sharp and bright and ready for use. 
He was master of irony and sarcasm, but there was no 
malice, no hatred in his swift and true arrows. Mortal 
wounds were often given, but the shafts were never pois- 



334 LIFE OF VANCE. 

oned. It was the strength of the bow and the skill of the 
archer that sent the steel through the heart of its victim. 
But strength, force, clearness, brevity, honesty of convic 
tion, truth, passion, good judgment, were the qualities that 
made his speech powerful and effective. 

He believed what he said. He knew it was true ; he felt 
its force himself; his heart was in his words; he was ready 
to put place, honor, life itself, upon the issue. This was 
the secret of his popularity, fame, and success as a speaker. 
He studied his speeches with the greatest care, deliberated, 
meditated upon them constantly, arranged the order of his 
topics with consummate discretion, introduced authorities 
from history, and very often from sacred history, presented 
some popular faith as an anchor to his ship, and concluded 
with a sincere appeal to the patriotic impulses of the people. 
No speaker ever resorted to the bayonet more frequently. 

He did not skirmish; he marched into the battle, 
charged the center of the lines, and never failed to draw 
the blood of the enemy. Sometimes he was supreme in 
manner, in words, in thought, in pathos. He possessed 
the thunderbolts, but, like Jove, he never trifled with them; 
he only invoked them when gigantic perils confronted his 
cause. In 1876, upon his third nomination for Governor, 
speaking to an immense audience in the State-house 
Square at Raleigh, he held up both hands in the light of 
the sun and with solemn invocation to Almighty God 
declared that they were white and stainless, that not one 
cent of corrupt money had ever touched their palms. The 
effect was electric ; the statement was conviction and con 
clusion. The argument was unanswerable. It was great 
nature s action. It was eloquence. It was truth. 

Senator Vance s integrity and uprightness in public and 
in private life were absolute ; they were unimpeached and 
unimpeachable; he was honest ; it is the priceless inheri 
tance which he leaves to his family, his friends, his coun 
try. He was an honest man. Calumny fell harmless at 



LIFE OF VANCE. 335 

his feet; the light dissipated every cloud and he lived con 
tinually in its broad rays ; his breastplate, his shield, his 
armor was the light, the truth. There was no darkness, 
no mystery, no shadow upon his bright standard. 

Senators will all remember the loss of his eye in the 
winter of 1889. How touching it was a sacrifice, an 
offering on the altar of his country. For no victim was 
ever more tightly bound to the stake than he was to his 
duty here. How bravely, how patiently, how cheerfully, 
how manfully he bore the dreadful loss ! But the light, 
the glorious light of a warm heart, a noble nature, a good 
conscience, an innocent memory was never obscured to 
him. It was to him a great bereavement, but it was 
another, a more sacred tie that again and again bound his 
countrymen to him. 

In his long and tedious illness no complaint, no mur 
murs escaped his calm and cheerful lips. He was com 
posed, firm, brave, constant, hopeful to the last. His love 
of country was unabated, his friendships unchanged, his 
devotion to duty unrelaxed. His philosophy was serene, 
his brow was cloudless, his spirit, his temper, his great 
mind, all were superior to his sufferings. 

His great soul illuminated the physical wreck and ruin 
around it and shone out with clearer luster amid disease 
and decay. Truly he was a most wonderful man. His 
last thoughts, his dying words, his expiring prayers were 
for his country, for liberty and the people. A great 
patriot, a noble citizen, a good man, it is impossible not to 
remember, to admire, to love him. 

I can not compare Senator Vance with Caesar, Napo 
leon, or Washington. I can not place him at the side of 
Webster, Clay, and Calhoun. I do not measure him with 
Chatham and Gladstone. He was not a philosopher like 
Franklin, he was not an orator like Mirabeau, but placed 
in any company of English or American statesmen he 
would have taken high position. 



33 6 LIFE OF VANCE. 

He had not the wisdom and virtue of Macon ; he wa> 
not like Badger, a master of argument; he was not like 
Graham, a model of dignity and learning ; he had not the 
superb speech and grand passion of Mangum ; he wanted 
the tenacious and inexorable logic of Bragg ; but in all the 
endowments, qualities, faculties, and attainments that make 
up the orator and the statesmen he was the equal of either. 
No man among the living or the dead has ever so pos 
sessed and held the hearts of North Carolina s people. 
In their confidence, their affection, their devotion, and 
their gratitude he stood unapproachable without a peer. 
When he spoke to them they listened to him with faith, 
with admiration, with rapture and exultant joy. His name 
was ever upon their lips. His pictures were in almost 
every household. Their children by hundreds bore his 
beloved name, and his words of wit and wisdom were re 
peated by every tongue. 

What Tell was to Switzerland, what Bruce was to Scot 
land, what William of Orange was to Holland, I had almost 
said what Moses was to Israel, Vance was to North Caro 
lina. I can give you but a faint idea of the deep, fervid, 
exalted sentiment which our people cherished for their 
greatest tribune. He was of them. He was one of them. 
He was with them. His thoughts, his feelings, his words 
were theirs. He was their shepherd, their champion, their 
friend, their guide, blood of their blood, great, good, noble, 
true, human like they were, in all respects, no better, but 
wiser, abler, with higher knowledge and profounder learning. 

Nor was this unsurpassed devotion unreasonable or 
without just foundation. For more than the third of a 
century, for upward of thirty years, in peace and in war, 
in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, he 
had stood by them like a brother a defender, a preserver, 
a deliverer. He was their martyr and had suffered for 
their acts. He was their shield and had protected them 
from evil and from peril. He had been with them he 



LIFE OF VANCE. 337 

had been with them and their sons and brothers on the 
march, by the camp fires, in the burning- light of battle ; 
beside the wounded and the dying ; in their darkest hours, 
amid hunger and cold, and famine and pestilences, his 
watchful care had brought them comfort and shelter and 
protection. They remembered the gray jackets, the warm 
blankets, the good shoes, the timely food, the blessed medi 
cines, which his sympathy and provision had brought 
them. In defeat, amid tumult, amid ruin, humiliation, 
and the loss of all they had, he had been their adviser ; 
he had guided them through the wilderness of their woes 
and brought them safely back to their rights and all 
their hopes. He had been to them like the north star to 
the storm-tossed and despairing mariner. He had been 
greater than Ulysses to the Greeks. He had preserved 
their priceless honor, had saved their homes, and was 
the defender of their liberties. He was their benefactor. 
Every object around them reminded them of his care, 
every memory recalled, every thought suggested, his use 
fulness and their gratitude. The light from their school- 
houses spoke of his services to their education. The very 
sight of their graves brought back to their hearts his ten 
der devotion to their sons. And the papers and the wires 
with the rising of almost every sun bore to their pure 
bosoms the news of his success, his triumphs, and his 
honors. They were proud of him ; they admired him 
they loved him. These, these, were the foundations, the 
solid foundations, of his place in their minds and in their 
hearts. From the wind-beaten and storm-bleached capes of 
Hatteras to the dark blue mountain tops that divide North 
Carolina and Tennessee there is not a spot from which the 
name of Vance is not echoed with honor and love. But 
his influence and his fame were not confined within State 
lines. 

In New England the sons of the brave Puritans ad 
mired his love of liberty, his independence of thought, his 

23 



338 LIFE OF VANCE. 

freedom of speech, his contempt for pretensions, and his 
abhorrence of deceit. The hardy miners in the far West 
and on the Pacific hills felt his friendship and were grate 
ful for his services. Virginia loved him as the vindicator 
of her imperiled rights and honor. From the farms and 
fields and firesides of the husbandmen of the Republic 
there came to him the greeting of friends, for he was 
always the advocate of low taxes and equal rights and 
privileges to all men. From all the South he was looked 
upon as the representative of their sorrow and the example 
of their honor; and all over the civilized world the people 
of Israel "the scattered nation" everywhere bowed with 
uncovered heads to the brave man who had rendered his 
noble testimony and a tribute to the virtues of their race. 
Even the officers, the sentinels, and watchmen over him in 
the Old Capitol Prison, in which he was confined on the 
alleged and wrongful charge that he had violated the laws 
of war, were spellbound by his genial spirit and became 
his devoted friends up to the hour of his death. His 
genius, his ability, his humanity, his long-continued pub 
lic service his great physical suffering, a martyrdom to his 
duty, the sorcery of his wit, the magic of his humor, and 
the courage of his convictions had attracted the universal 
sympathy and admiration of the American people. 

In the brief summary in the Directory is embraced a 
great life: County attorney, member of the State house of 
commons; Representative an two Congresses; captain and 
colonel in the Southern army; three times elected Gov 
ernor of his State, and four times elected to the Senate 
of the United States. What a record and what a combi 
nation ! A great statesman, a good soldier, a rare scholar, a 
successful lawyer, an orator of surpassing power and elo 
quence, and a man popular and beloved as few men have 
ever been ! Great in peace and great in war, equal to every 
fortune, superior to adversity, and, greater still, superior to 
prosperity ! Successful in everything which he attempted, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 339 

eminent in every field in which he appeared, and fitted for 
every effort which he undertook ! 

He was master of political science and distinguished in 
scholarship and literature. His political speeches were 
models of popular oratory and his literary addresses were 
compositions of chaste excellence. He wrote an electric 
editorial and drafted a legislative bill with equal clearness 
and brevity. His pen and his tongue were of equal qual 
ity. He used both with equal power. He wrote much ; 
he spoke more. Everything emanating from him wore 
his own likeness. He borrowed from no man. He imi 
tated no man and no man could imitate him. He was 
unique, original, wonderful, incomprehensible unless he 
was a genius with faculties and powers of extraordinary 
and exceptional character. 

His temper was admirable, calm, well balanced, serene. 
He cared less for trifles than any man I ever knew. He 
brushed them away as a lion shakes the dust from his 
mane. In this respect he was a giant. He was like Sam 
son breaking the frail withes that bound his limbs. He 
was never confused, rarely impatient, seldom nervous, and 
never weak. 

He was merciful in the extreme. Suffering touched him 
to the quick. He was compassion itself to distress. He 
was as tender as a gentle woman to the young, the weak, 
the feeble. He w r as full of charity to all men, charitable 
to human frailty in every shape and form and phase. He 
had deep, powerful impulses, strong and passionate resent 
ments ; in the heat of conflict he w 7 as inexorable, but his 
generosity, his magnanimity, his sense of justice were 
deeper and stronger and better than the few passing pas 
sions of his proud nature. To his family and friends he 
was all tenderness and indulgence. His great heart always 
beat in duty, with sympathy, with the highest chivalry to 
woman. 



340 LIFE OF VANCE. 

The man that lays his hand upon a woman, 
Save in the way of kindness, is a wretch, 
Whom t were gross flattery to name a coward, 

was always upon his lips. 

He was ambitious, very ambitious ; but with him ambi 
tion was virtue. He aspired to be great that he might be 
useful, to do good, to improve and to benefit and to help 
mankind. His was not the ambition of pride and of arro 
gance and of power. It was the ambition of benevolence 
and philanthropy, the ambition to elevate, to lift up, to 
bless humanity. 

From early manhood he had possessed a respectable com 
petence. At no time did he ever suffer penury. He hus 
banded with great care his resources and was prudent, 
frugal, thoughtful in his expenditures ; but he never turned 
a deaf ear to pity or to sorrow. He was not avaricious ; 
he had no love for money and was never rich in gold, sil 
ver, and precious stones or lands, but he was opulent in 
the confidence and affections of the people. His great 
wealth was invested in the attachments, the friendships, 
the faith, the devotions of his fellow-men, that priceless 
wealth of love of the heart of the soul which no money 
can purchase. 

In many respects he was very remarkable. In one he 
was singularly so. He never affected superiority to human 
frailty. He claimed no immunity from our imperfection. 
He realized that all of us were subject to the same condi 
tions, and he regarded and practiced humility as a cardinal 
virtue and duty. 

Senator Vance was happy in his married life. In his 
early manhood he was married to Miss Harriet Newell 
Espey, of North Carolina. She was a woman of high in 
tellectual endowments, of uncommon moral force, of exem 
plary piety, and exercised a great influence for good over 
her devoted husband which lasted during his life. Their 
union was blessed with four sons, who survived their 



LIFE OF VANCE. 341 

parents. His second wife was Mrs. Florence Steele Mar 
tin, of Kentucky, a lady of brilliant intellect, of rare grace 
and refinement, who adorned his life and shed luster and 
joy on his home. 

All during the fatal malady that ended his life, with 
sleepless affection, with tireless tenderness, with holy duty, 
she was by him until the last breath came, and he expired 
in her arms, in the solace of her love. 

He loved the Bible as he loved no other book. All of 
his reverence was for his God. He lived a patriot and a 
philanthropist and he died a Christian. This is the sum of 
duty and honor. 

He has gone. His massive and majestic form, his full, 
flowing white locks, his glayful, twinkling eye, his calm, 
homelike face, his indescribable voice, have left us forever. 
He still lives in our hearts. 

The great Mirabeau in his dying moments asked for 
music and for flowers and for perfumes to cheer and 
brighten his mortal eclipse. Vance died blessed with the 
fragrance of sweetest affections, consecrated by the holiest 
love, embalmed in the tears and sorrows of a noble people. 
The last sounds that struck his ear were the echoes of 
their applause and gratitude, and his eyes closed with the 
light of Christian promise beaming upon his soul. 

On the night of the i6th of April last we took his cas 
ket from these walls. We bore it across the Potomac 

through the bosom of Virginia, close by the grave of 
Washington, almost in sight of the tombs of Jefferson and 
Madison, over the James, over the North and the South 
Roanoke, over the unknown border line of the sister 
States to the sad heart of his mother State. The night 
was beautiful. The white stars shed their hallowed radi 
ance upon earth and sky. The serenity was lovely. The 
whole heavens almost seemed a happy reunion of the con 
stellations. With the first light of day the people, singly, 
in groups, in companies, in crowds, in multitudes, met 



342 LIFE OF VANCE. 

us everywhere along the way both sexes all ages all 
races a ll classes and conditions. Their sorrow was like 
the gathering clouds in morning, ready to drop every 
moment in showers. 

We carried him to the State house in Raleigh, the scene 
of his greatest trials and grandest triumphs ; the heart of 
the State melted over her dead son. Her brightest jewel 
had been taken away ! We left Raleigh in the evening, 
and passing over the Neuse, over the Yadkin, over the 
Catawba, up to the summit of the Blue Ridge, we placed 
the urn with its noble dust on the brow of his own moun 
tain, the mountain he loved so well. There he sleeps in 
peace and honor. On that exalted spot the willow and the 
cypress, emblems of sorrow and tnourning, can not grow, 
but the bay and the laurel, the trees of fame, will there 
flourish and bloom in perpetual beauty and glory. There 
will his great spirit, like an eternal sentinel of liberty and 
truth, keep watch over his people. 

Senators, I feel how unable I have been to perform this 
sacred duty. It would have been one of the supreme joys 
of my life to have done justice to the life and character of 
this great and good man, to have enshrined his memory in 
eloquence like his own. But whatever may have been the 
faults of these words, I have spoken from a heart full of 
sorrow for his death and throbbing with admiration and 
pride for his virtues. 

[Address of Mr. Morrill.] 

MR. PRESIDENT : Our late associate here, Senator Vance, 
appears to have been, both early and late, a prime favorite 
of North Carolina. He was born there, and was early 
made an heir to honorable and lifelong fame. The same 
year of his admission to the bar, at the early age of 
twenty-two, he was elected county attorney. Two years 
later he was elected to the State house of commons, and 
then, when only one year past the age of eligibility, he 
was promoted to the United States House of Representa- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 343 

tives, where he remained a member from 1857 to 1861. 

Then, starting as a captain in the military line of the 
rebellion, in three months he rose to the rank of colonel. 
But his State in 1862 more needed his services as a civil 
ian, and he was elected at the age of thirty-two Governor 
of the State. By re-election he held this office through 
all the stern vicissitudes of the rebellion. While a stanch 
supporter of the Confederacy, he yet had some State-rights 
differences with its President, but they were amicably 
adjusted. 

Rarely has any man so young been intrusted by the peo 
ple of a great State and in a great crisis with the foremost 
official stations within their gift. 

But to them always 

A man he seems of cheerful yesterdays 
And confident to-morrows 

and he had their hearts. 

Largely home and self-instructed, finely equipped with a 
full-chested physique and resonant voice, and with a genial 
overflow of mother wit, he early became a notable orator 
in all political campaigns ; but it was his close touch and 
familiarity with the leading topics of the day, his fidelity 
to his convictions of duty, as well as respect for the senti 
ments of his people, and his spotless personal reputation 
which made them grapple him to their souls "with hooks 
of steel." To whatever station called, so well pleased 
were his people that with one accord they asked to have 
him go up higher. 

When he was first elected to the House of Representa 
tives in 1857 as a Whig, with South-American proclivities, 
I had been serving there first as a Whig with Republican 
proclivities, and if either of us then had much reverence 
for the Democratic party I must admit it was prudently dis 
sembled. Young and brimful of humor, song, and story, 
he was highly esteemed by the members of all parties in 
the House, as he was here. In an era when our whole 



344 LIFE OF VANCE. 

country appeared to be rumbling with invisible earth 
quakes and hissing with the oratorical skyrockets of seces 
sion he served for four years, or until 1861, and, so far as I 
remember, contributed nothing to our or to the national 
"unpleasantness." 

During his Senatorial service, from 1879, f fifteen years 
he was not a frequent debater, except on tariff and revenue 
questions, where he differed radically from such ancient 
Whig statesmen as Badger, Mangum, and Stanly, formerly 
representing the Old North State; but whenever he spoke 
he had no lack of hearers, and they were often rewarded 
by the originality of his remarks and by the witticisms 
interspersed, redolent of his native Buncombe county. So 
long as health permitted he was a regular attendant upon 
the meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, of which he 
was a valuable member. 

The large increase in the number of the members in 
both Houses of Congress has made obituary notices of such 
frequent occurrence that I fear the time occupied for the 
brief tributes here to our departed fellow-members is some 
times granted with reluctance. I feel sure, however, that 
no one will begrudge the hour subtracted from legislative 
affairs and now given up to the memory of the most 
beloved man perhaps of his State associated with us here 
for many years, and one, however widely apart politically 
from some of us, for whom every Senator here to-day is a 
sincere mourner. 

I called upon him toward the end of his earthly career 
and found him bearing his bodily afflictions with cheerful 
fortitude. 

The loss to his State will be great, and to his family 
incomputable. Personally, I lament here to say, farewell, 
my time-honored friend ! 

[Address of Mr. Sherman.] 

MR. PRESIDENT : The frequent recurrence of scenes like 
this, when the Senate pauses in its important duties to note 



LIFE OF VANCE. 345 

the death of one of its members, must impress us with 
the feeble tenure with which we hold both life and public 
honor. We recall our departed associate with kindness and 
charity. We bury in his grave all the differences of opin 
ion, all party or sectional contentions, and think only of the 
good he has done, of the qualities of his head and heart 
which gained our affection or commanded our respect. It 
is in this spirit I wish to add a few words to the eloquent 
eulogy of Governor Vance by his distinguished colleague. 

My first acquaintance with him was when he became a 
member of the House of Representatives of the Thirty-fifth 
Congress, having been elected to fill a vacancy caused by 
the election of Mr. Clingman to the Senate. He was about 
twenty-eight years old, large, handsome, and of pleasing 
address and manner. He called himself a Whig a Henry 
Clay W 7 hig and supported the public policy of that emi 
nent statesman. In this we were in hearty sympathy. We 
were thrown frequently into kindly association. We could 
agree on many questions of public policy, but we could not 
agree on the sectional question then arising like a threaten 
ing cloud on the horizon. We were born in different lati 
tudes, under the influence of different institutions, with firm 
convictions honestly entertained, but diametrically opposite 
with respect to the institution of slavery. 

This wide difference of opinion was chiefly sectional, 
and therefore more dangerous. This institution was a 
slumbering volcano anxiously perceived by the framers of 
our Constitution and carefully dealt with, in the hope that 
by the action of the several States African slavery would 
be gradually abolished as inconsistent with our free insti 
tutions. This hope was delusive. Slavery at different 
periods of our history threatened our National Union, but 
happily this contention was wisely smothered by the com 
promises of 1820 and 1850, though it only needed a torch 
to arouse it into activity. The repeal of the Missouri com- 



346 UFE OF VANCE. 

promise in 1854 was the cause, or, as some say, the pretext, 
of the violent destruction of parties and the civil war. 

Governor Vance entered Congress, in 1858, as a member 
of the American party, occupying a middle position 
between the Democratic and the Republican parties. He 
did not rush into the arena of debate, but his personal and 
social qualities, and especially his wit and humor, were 
well known, and gained him many friends. After a month 
or two he was drawn into a brief casual debate, and at 
once was recognized as a young man of marked ability. 
Later in the same session he made one speech defining his 
opinions on the leading questions of the day. From this 
time his ability as a debater was conceded. 

In the memorable Thirty-sixth Congress Governor 
Vance took a more active part. He still held his fellow 
ship with the American party, but that party melted away 
under the influence of passing events. The struggle in 
Kansas, the formation of the Republican party, the break 
ing up of the Charleston convention, the adoption of new 
dogmas for and against slavery these and many other 
events left no room for parties except on sectional lines, 
and no choice of policy except disunion with slavery per 
petuated, or of union with slavery abolished. I criticise 
no man for his choice in that conflict. It was indeed an 
irrepressible conflict, the seeds of which were planted 
before our Union was founded. Governor Vance took 
sides with his people and I with mine. The result was in 
the disposal of the Almighty Ruler of the imiverse, who 
doeth all things well. I believe the time will come, if it 
has not already come, when the North and the South, the 
Confederate and the Union soldier, and their descendants 
in far distant generations, will thankfully unite in praise 
to God that our conflict ended with a restored and strength 
ened Union. 

There can be no doubt that at the beginning of the civil 
war Governor Vance was conspicuous at home as well as 



OF VANCE. 347 

here as an ardent, outspoken Union man, but he also loved 
his State and his people, among whom he had been born 
and bred, and when they were swept away by the torrent 
of opinion in the belief that it was their duty to secede 
from the Union he went with them. The question, as it 
presented itself to his mind, w r as whether he should fight 
with his neighbors or against them. Of his decision in 
such a choice there could be no doubt. As a soldier and 
Governor of North Carolina he did all he could to estab 
lish the Southern Confederacy, but when the events of the 
war led the Confederate authorities to trench upon what 
he considered as the rights of his people he firmly insisted 
upon preserving those rights. 

Some years after the war closed he was elected to a 
seat in this body. I need not say to Senators that in the 
performance of his public duties and in his association with 
his fellow-Senators he was always a pleasant companion 
and a kind and indulgent friend. He carefully attended to 
public duties, took his full share in the debates, and con 
tributed by his wisdom and counsel to many important 
public measures. 

The life of a man and a nation is like the current of a 
river, full of dangers, at times calm and slow and then 
rapid and turbulent. From the feeble spring of infancy to 
the resting place in the ocean or the grave, there are many 
trials, vicissitudes, storms, and trouble, as well as peace 
ful and happy moments. Our enjoyment of life depends 
largely upon temperament. The obstructions in our way 
are mountains or molehills, according to the disposition of 
each individual. We create in a measure our own sun 
shine and shadow. It has always seemed to me that the 
peculiar characteristics of Governor Vance were his happy 
temperament and hopeful view of life. He carried with 
him wherever he went cheerfulness and joy. The humor 
and pathos with which he illustrated an argument, the sin 
cerity and moderation of his opinions, his fidelity to his 



348 LIFE OF VANCE. 

friends, the apparent honesty of his convictions these 
were the attributes of our departed friend. In his life 
among us in the Senate he was cheerful, kind, and consid 
erate. He left no enemies here. He died assured of the 
affection of his family, the confidence of his constituents, 
the love and respect and honor of his associates in the 
Senate. 

[Address of Mr. Gray.] 

MR. PRESIDENT : The man whose loss we mourn to-day 
was no ordinary man, and the words of touching eulogy 
to which we have listened have set vibrating chords of 
sympathy and grief in a manner and to a degree not 
ordinary. How hard is it for each of us, even after this 
interval since his death, to realize that we shall see his face 
no more. 

Senator Vance had become, more than is usual, a part, 
an almost necessary part, it seemed, of our daily life here. 
In him the humanities were so active and so abundant that 
he seemed made to brighten social life and strengthen the 
social instinct. 

In this hour of sad retrospect his kindness of heart, his 
ready and responsive sympathy, his catholicity of spirit, 
his freedom from bigotry, envy, and all uncharitableness, 
are the qualities upon which we who knew and loved him 
fain would dwell to the exclusion of those attributes of 
intellect and character which excited our admiration and 
so distinguished his public career. And yet the "elements 
were so mixed in him" his gentleness, his courage, his 
magnanimity, his robust manhood, his humor, and his 
remarkable intellectual gifts that it is hard to analyze the 
man or consider him otherwise than he was, teres atque 
rotundus. 

His public life was a long and full one. It covered a 
period replete with interest to his State and country. 
Fearless in the expression of his mature convictions, he 



UFE OF VANCE. 349 

had an almost unequaled power of impressing them on the 
Senate and the country. 

His equipment as an orator was strong and unique. 
Great quickness of perception was united to great facility 
and felicity of speech. His mind was well disciplined and 
logical, and he maintained the purpose and continuity of 
his argument with great ability and skill. But it was in 
what is called running debate that, it seemed to me, his 
greatest power was displayed. The quick play of his 
intellectual forces here made him preeminent. Sarcasm, 
repartee, humor, were all at instant command. Of these 
weapons he had always a quiver full, and woe to the 
antagonist who carelessly exposed himself to them. But 
this ready wit never left scars behind. 

He never made a brow look dark 
Nor caused a tear but when he died. 

Like lambent lightning, his wit was softly bright; it 
illuminated, but did not burn. 

There are few of us who can not recall the delight 
occasioned by its display, and how story, epigram, and 
apt illustration lighted up many a tedious discussion, his 
clearness of mental vision making many a crooked path 
straight. No debate was dull in which he engaged, and 
no one cared to leave this Chamber when Vance was on 
the floor. 

No one who heard the long debate on the tariff bill of 
1890 will ever forget the part which was taken in it by 
Senator Vance. 

As a member of the Finance Committee of this body he 
bore in large measure the burden of that memorable dis 
cussion. The details of the bill were thoroughly mastered 
by him, and he devoted laborious days and nights to the 
study of the complex and difficult questions involved in its 
consideration. He sacrificed his ease and comfort to the 
performance of his duty, and his unremitting devotion to 
the work before him through the long weeks and months 



35 WFB OF VANCE. 

of that spring and summer cost him the sight of an eye 
and greatly impaired his naturally strong constitution. 

It has been given to few men to carve for themselves so 
secure a niche in the temple of their country s fame. 

Senator Vance was thoroughly in touch with the plain 
people, as Lincoln loved to call them. He understood 
them, and was one in feelings and sympathy with them. 
He loved the folklore of the mountain districts of his own 
State, and dwelt with fond pleasure on the home-bred 
traits and fireside virtues of the people among whom he 
lived. 

And right royally did that generous people return his 
love. 

It was my sad privilege, Mr. President, to be one of the 
committee that accompanied his remains to their last rest 
ing place in the State he loved so well, and I was witness 
to the spontaneous expression of affectionate regard for his 
memory. 

The demonstration was confined to no class or color. 
Wherever we went, rich and poor, white and black, alike 
seemed in their grief to have received that touch of nature 
which makes the whole world kin. 

And when we had performed the last melancholy offices 
for the dead, and left him in his grave on the moun 
tain side, amid the beautiful scenery of the French Broad, 
we felt that no monumental marble would be necessary 
to preserve the rich heritage of the name and fame of 
Zebulon B. Vance to his State and country. 
[Address of Mr. Blackburn.] 

MR. PRESIDENT : I have thought that it might be better 
that these ceremonies should be changed and that what 
ever was to be said of the dead might be said at the time 
when the announcement of the death was made. 

If I had taken counsel of the love that I bore this man I 
would have come as others have, with a carefully arranged 
and prepared eulogy illustrating his virtues and his merits. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 351 

But I have not. However, I listened to the address deliv 
ered by his surviving colleague, and it went far to remove 
the prejudice that I hold against these ceremonials, for 
never in all my life did I hear the virtues, the merits, the 
worth of a man more eloquently portrayed, more fairly 
and truthfully put. 

I cannot agree to let this occasion go by without at 
testing at the expense of the time of the Senate for one 
minute the appreciation in which I held this man and the 
love that I cherished for him. His genial nature attracted 
everybody. There was a special reason for me to know 
him closely. The widow whom he left behind him is a 
cherished and petted daughter of my State. That natur 
ally drew us together. I knew him for the last twenty 
years. I knew him by reputation before. Whether as sol 
dier or as citizen, as member of the other House, as mem 
ber of this Chamber, or as Governor of his State in the 
stormiest day that this country ever knew, he loomed up 
always above the forms of those by whom he was sur 
rounded. He was known as the great war Governor of the 
South, and ranked side by side with the great Curtin, of 
Pennsylvania, who represented the loyalty of the Union at 
that dark hour. 

This man s character, Mr. President, is best illustrated 
by an instance with which I became acquainted only 
within the last week, and but for which I would not have 
asked the indulgence of the Senate to attest my love to his 
memory. The General Commanding the Armies of this 
country told me less than a week ago that when the war 
ended he was left in command of the district of North 
Carolina. He received an order peremptory from the War 
Office here to arrest Governor Vance, to capture all his 
papers and correspondence and send them to the War 
Department. He said he knew full well that Vance was 
not seeking to flee the country or avoid arrest, but that he 
sent an officer up to his mountain home with instructions 



35 2 WFE OF VANCE. 

to capture every paper that belonged to his official or his 
personal correspondence and bring them there; and the 
officer did. 

General Schofield sent Governor Vance with those papers 
and records here to the then Secretary of War. We all 
remember that that was Pennsylvania s great war officer, 
Stanton, whom some people thought was not mild, whom 
some thought was even savage; but who, in my judgment, 
in point of efficiency arid ability was the greatest war min 
ister that the earth has known since the days of the elder 
Carnot of France. General Schofield sent Governor Vance 
here, and among those records he sent the book which con 
tained every particle of correspondence that Vance had ever 
held with the President of the dead Confederacy. All was 
open, and Stanton examined it all. When he did, and saw 
what this man had done, how persistent his efforts had been 
to ameliorate the condition of Federal prisoners and to 
assuage the horrors of war, this great Secretary said to him, 
u Upon your record you stand acquitted ; you are at liberty to 
go where you will." 

Mr. President, may not we who knew this man so well 
and loved him so closely indulge the hope that" another, a 
greater Judge, with ampler power, whose writs run through 
out eternity as well as time, after examining the record of a 
life spent in the service of his fellows, reached the same 
conclusion and delivered same verdict that Stanton did, 
and told our dead friend that "Upon your record you stand 
acquitted, and through all the shining realms of Paradise 
you may go where you will." 

[Address of Mr. George.] 

Mr. PRESIDENT: I willingly comply with the request 
of the senior Senator from North Carolina [Mr. Ransom] 
to take part in these memorial services. 

My personal acquaintance with Senator Vance com 
menced in 1 88 1, when I became a member of the Senate. 
He had then been a Senator for a time long enough to 



LIFE OF VANCE. 353 

acquire a leadership on the Democratic side of this Cham 
ber a leadership which was every year more and more 
distinctly recognized until his death. 

From the very first I was attached to him, not more by 
his many high social qualities than by a conviction on my 
part of his great value as a statesman. Our association 
was such that it enables me to say with pride that we 
were friends. His powers of debate were remarkable and 
in many respects unrivaled. He possessed sound logic, 
which enabled him to solve the most difficult problems 
and to present his views on them with great clearness and 
force. He was gifted also with great humor, which he 
used in debate with effectiveness in illustrating his argu 
ment. He used his great powers of wit and humor not as 
mere ornament to his discourse, but always as a substan 
tial aid to his argument. This gift was always made sub 
ordinate to, and a servant of, his powers of reasoning. He 
was one of the few men whom I have known who, being 
possessed of brilliant powers to please and attract by wit, 
humor, and anecdote, never succumbed to the tempta 
tion to be amusing and agreeable at the expense of being 
instructive. 

In any legislative body in the world he would have been 
esteemed great. 

The moral side of Senator Vance was no less admirable. 
He was brave, generous, magnanimous, humane, tender, 
and, above all, honest ; honest not only in his actions, but 
in his thoughts. He had his high ideal of the good, and 
lived up to it without deviation. His idea of honesty did 
not stop at fairness in dealings with others, but it com 
pelled an adherence to fair dealing with himself, an honest 
and upright purpose in the ends he sought, either by pri 
vate enterprise or public service. He had an ambition to 
serve in public life, but it was an ambition which found 
gratification only in rendering great public service. He 
loved the great mass of his countrymen ; he sympathized 

24 



354 UFE OF VANCE. 

in their struggles and in their aspirations. His ambition 
was to make these struggles easier, and to make these 
aspirations higher and nobler, and to secure to them as the 
end more happiness and greater advancement. 

In an age where the occasional demoralization of public 
men had cast suspicion upon high characters, not the 
slightest taint ever rested upon him. He was unspotted. 
He went through the fiery ordeal with no stain upon his 
garment. He had that high devotion to the people s 
rights and interests that he could not view public measures 
in any other aspect than as to their effect on the general 
welfare. He never considered them with reference to their 
effect on his own personal or political fortunes or for the 
purpose of advancing the interest of a few favorites of for 
tune or of government. 

In conclusion I feel warranted in saying that the sober 
verdict of history will assign to Senator Vance a very 
high place in the first class of American statesmen, and 
that his death, at that stage of the development of his high 
powers when his greatness and usefulness were recognized 
by all, came too soon for the public good, and was a great 
national loss. 

[Address of Mr. Dubois.] 

MR. PRESIDENT: Zebulon B. Vance was born on the 
1 3th day of May, 1830, in Buncombe county, N. C. He 
was educated at Washington College, Tennessee, and the 
University of North Carolina. In January, 1852, he was 
admitted to the bar and was elected attorney for his native 
county in the same year. In 1854 he served as a member 
of the State house of commons of North Carolina, and was 
a Representative from North Carolina in the Thirty-fifth 
and Thirty-sixth Congresses. In May, 1861. he entered 
the Confederate army as a captain and was promoted to a 
colonelcy in August of the same year. He was elected 
Governor of North Carolina in August, 1862, and was re- 
elected in August, 1864. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 355 

He was known as the war Governor of his State, and dur 
ing his administration the great writ of habeas corpus was 
never suspended. During his incumbency of the office of 
Governor, and just at the close of the war, his State was 
taken possession of by the Federal troops. He was cap 
tured, released on parole, and confined to Iredell county, 
N. C. In a short time thereafter he was again taken in 
charge by a company of United States troops at Statesville, 
N. C., and brought from there to the Old Capitol Prison, 
in Washington, where he was confined for about three 
months. 

In November, 1870, Governor Vance was elected to the 
United State Senate, but was unable to qualify because his 
political disabilities had not been removed. He resigned 
his claim to a seat in the Senate in January, 1872. In the 
same year he was again the Democratic nominee for United 
States Senator, but was defeated by a combination of bolt 
ing Democrats and Republicans, who elected the late Judge 
Merrimon. In the meantime he practiced law in Char 
lotte, N. C., with the Hon. Clement Dowd, with whom he 
remained in partnership until 1876, when he was, for the 
third time, nominated for Governor of his State and elected 
by a large majority the Republicans, up to that time, 
having had control of the State government from the close 
of the war. On March 18, 1879, Senator Vance, having 
again been elected to the United States Senate this time 
to succeed Senator Merrimon took his seat in this Cham 
ber and remained a member of this body until the day of 
his death, April 14, 1894. His term of service would not 
have expired until March 4, 1897. 

No man, I believe, has ever enjoyed to a greater extent 
the love and affection of the people of the State. It was 
genuine love and affection, and [ was told that when the 
news of his death was announced many men and women, 
as well as children, all over his State, wept as if they had 
lost a near and dear relative as well as friend. He appre- 



356 LIFE OF VANCE. 

dated keenly the friendship of his people and the many 
honors they had conferred upon him, and was, in turn, 
their true, loyal, and devoted friend and champion to his 
last dying breath. No one of his constituents was too 
humble to be accorded an interview at any time, and to be 
rendered a service if it was in his power to aid or cheer 
them. 

The respect and devotion uniformly shown by the peo 
ple at his funeral was such as is rarely, if ever, accorded 
to a public man. Throngs of people lined the railroad 
track all the way from Raleigh to Asheville. The night 
before reaching Asheville was ideal, and peculiar to South 
ern climes. The moon was shining full, the air was 
balmy, and most of us who composed the funeral escort 
sat up until long past midnight. In the early hours of the 
morning, as the train would whirl past a small station, 
hundreds of people could be seen standing on the banks 
near the track in solemn and reverent silence. They knew 
the train would not stop, yet they had traveled many miles 
in order to pay this last tribute of love to their departed 
leader and friend. All with whom I came in contact said 
that Senator Vance was regarded as a personal friend by 
everyone. 

I was particularly struck with a little incident that hap 
pened as the funeral train was passing through Durham, 
N. C., where it stopped for a few moments, to allow the 
citizens to view the remains. The crowd was so great that 
it was with difficulty that people could reach the funeral 
car; in fact, many were not able to get there at all, and 
among the latter was an old lady who was deeply disap 
pointed at being prevented from taking a last look at her 
departed friend. She tried to console herself, however, by 
showing the crowd a twenty-five cent and a ten-cent sil 
ver piece which she had placed upon the track as the train 
ran into the station. They were completely flattened out, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 357 

and she proposed to keep them as mementos. She said it 
was all the money she had on earth. 

Another touching incident occurred at Asheville, where 
he was buried. The surviving soldiers of his old company 
who went to the front with him w 7 hen the late war broke 
out attended the funeral in a body, or rather all of them 
who \vere able. There was one who lived many miles 
from the city, and who, on account of being a cripple from 
wounds received, could not go to the grave. At the hour 
for the last sad services to commence, however, he had 
himself carried to the little building not far away, which 
served both as country school house and church, and there 
he solemnly tolled the bell as long as he thought the rites 
were continuing. 

Senator Vance could not bear unfriendly or strained 
relations with any of his colleagues, and always found a 
way to overcome them. It was my lot to run counter 
to him during my early life in Congress. He bitterly 
opposed the admission of Idaho to the Union, which I as 
the Delegate was urging, and made a speech full of sar 
casm and ridicule adverse to our claims. His picture of 
our citizens was a most severe arraignment. After Idaho 
became a State, and my seat in the Senate was contested, 
Senator Vance took the side of my opponent and earnestly 
contended against the legality of my election. Several 
months after the contest had been decided in my favor, 
and when we were fighting on the same side in favor of 
silver, he came to my seat one day and said : "Dubois, 
I am willing to forgive you for everything I have done 
against you and Idaho." From that time until his death 
I had the honor and pleasure of his friendship and confi 
dence. 

I believe that more than all else, if possible, he cherished 
and prided himself upon the confidence his people had in 
his integrity and honesty. He often spoke of it, and said 
they knew "his hands were clean," and if he had made 



358 LIFE OF VANCE. 

mistakes they were mistakes of judgment, and not made 
through dishonest motives. 

His sense of humor remained with him to the last. 
Twenty-four hours before he died he sent for his friend and 
colleague, Senator Blackburn. Orders had been given by 
his physician that he must not be excited by visitors. "Joe," 
said Vance, "they say I must not see anyone, but you won t 
hurt me, and you know I can t hurt you." In that inter 
view, which he knew was his last, he cheered his friend 
with anecdotes and reminiscences, and sent kindly words 
to his colleagues whom he was leaving. 
[Address of Mr. Chandler.] 

MR. PRESIDENT: The tributes of affection given to the 
memory of Senator Vance when, on the I7th of April last, 
we bore his remains to their last resting place, proved that 
he was universally beloved by the people of the State of 
North Carolina, without distinction of party or of race. 
Wherever the train halted crowds of friendly sympathizers, 
with sad faces and kindly words, expressed their sense of 
their loss of their Senator, whom all seemed to have known 
as a friend, and whose fame all seemed to feel was a glory 
to them and their Commonwealth. 

South and east we went to Raleigh; all business was 
suspended and the whole region poured out its crowds to 
take a last look at the form of their great citizen, soldier, 
Governor, and Senator, resting within the precincts of the 
State capitol. Not merely the Governor and State officers, 
but all the people, old and young, men, women, and chil 
dren, white and black, pressed through the portals to say 
farewell to him they loved as a public man has seldom been 
loved by those whom he has served. 

Then we went westward toward the mountain home of 
our departed friend. All the stations were thronged with 
eager yet gentle mourners. At Durham, most melodious 
voices, coming from men and women with black faces and 
toil-worn hands, sang with touching pathos, "Father, we 



LIFE OF VANCE. 359 

rest in Thy love." At Greensboro the little station was 
crowded with citizens, and the old Twenty-sixth Regiment 
Band of Salem-Winston, which had followed the fortunes 
of war with their chieftain discoursed sacred music. 

At last, on the morning of the i8th, we reached the 
section where our friend was born. From the surround 
ing towns to Asheville came delegations ; from Charlotte, 
Hendersonville, Marion, Morganton, Winston, Salisbury, 
and others whose names have passed from me. In remoter 
places we learned that all labor had ceased ; buildings were 
draped ; flags were half-masted, and commemorative services 
were held. In Asheville the day was wholly given to 
the burial of their beloved dead. It seemed as if every res 
ident came to see in death him whom they had known so 
well in life. Masons, Odd Fellows, State militia, Confed 
erate veterans, local organizations of many names, were the 
escort to and from the church. The school children, in 
their beauty and freshness, lined the roadway ; and after 
appropriate religious rites, in the beautiful cemetery at 
Riverside, on the slopes of the valley of the noble French 
Broad River ashes to ashes, dust to dust we committed 
to mother earth, from which it sprung, the lifeless body of 
him whose immortal soul had left its tenement of clay, and 
who, even as we stood there mourning, was walking with 
the angelic hosts in the streets of the New Jerusalem. 

Mr. President, almost unqualified praise may be spoken 
of the character of this son of North Carolina whom we 
now commemorate. Born among the mountains which 
are so surely the home of untamed freedom, he was self- 
reliant and independent. He was a strong man naturally 
and intellectually, and made himself a name and a fame as 
a lawyer, as an orator, and as a statesman which gave him 
a high place in the history of his State, and entitle him to 
manifestations of respect and honor from this Senate and 
from the people of the United States. 

As a public speaker to large audiences he stood amono- 



360 LIFE OF VANCE. 

the foremost of his generation. He was gifted in that 
great essential of a popular orator, a vivid imagination, 
enabling him to freely illustrate his ideas and thus reit 
erate them to his auditors with great effect. His accurate 
memory supplemented his imaginative powers, and with 
his fine person and pleasing voice he early became the lead 
ing orator of his day in his State, and from the attract- 
iveness and power of his speeches, in every part of that 
widely extended Commonwealth, he came to be the most 
familiar figure to her citizens of all her prominent char 
acters, admired, sought for, applauded, and beloved to a 
height of personal popularity seldom reached by a public 
man. 

For his many-sided and superior abilities he is remem 
bered and mourned by his people. I love to think of him 
as a tender friend. Possessed of a keen sense of humor, 
without which life in this sad and mysterious state of 
existence would be worth so little, and with geniality of 
temper and manner, he was endeared to all his associates 
in this body. They were always glad when he appeared ; 
they rejoiced in his companionship ; his wit delighted 
them without inflicting pain, and they parted from him 
always with reluctance. I am thankful that I was allowed 
the privilege of assisting in bearing his mortal frame to its 
last resting place, and that I am now permitted to speak 
even feeble and inadequate words of praise and affection 
for the courteous gentleman, the good citizen, the faithful 
husband and father, the eloquent orator and accomplished 
Senator, above all, the gentle and loving friend, who has 
gone before us to the spirit land. 

As we once more finally part in this world with one 
whose joyous presence lately filled our sight and thoughts, 
whom we can still see with eyes of mental vision, we 
cling to faith in immortality. This life would be worth 
less, and a mockery of human hope, if there were not a 
life beyond. Imperfection pervades every earthly posses- 



UFE OF VANCE. 361 

sion and achievement. We can not even make an effort 
to understand the purposes of the Maker of the universe, if 
this life is the whole of human existence. We can not 
bring ourselves to believe in His goodness if the wrongs 
of this life are not to be made right in a future state. 
Without debating dogmas, we all hope, we all believe, 
that somehow, somewhere, sorrow and sighing shall flee 
away, all souls shall be saved, and permanent happiness 
shall at last come to all the children of men. This faith, 
whether kept secret or admitted, I believe abides in the 
hearts of all. Mr. Fronde expresses what he says is a 
universal feeling : 

There seems, in the first place, to lie in all men, in proportion to 
the strength of their understanding, a conviction that there is in all 
human things a real order and purpose, notwithstanding the chaos in 
which at times they seem to be involved. Suffering scattered blindly 
without remedial purpose or retributive propriety ; good and evil dis 
tributed with the most absolute disregard of moral merit or demerit ; 
enormous crimes perpetrated with impunity, or vengeance when it 
comes falling not only on the guilty, but the innocent, * * * these 
phenomena present, generation after generation, the same perplexing 
and even maddening features ; and without an illogical but none the 
less a positive certainty that things are not as they seem ; that, in spite 
of appearance, there is justice at the heart of them, and that, in the 
working out of the vast drama, justice will assert somehow and some 
where its sovereign right and power, the better sort of persons would 
find existence altogether unendurable. 

The words of this great thinker and writer find an echo 
in every thoughtful human soul. But faith prevails and 
hope springs eternal in the human breast. There is an 
existence beyond the present life where all shall be made 
clear. We shall see as w r e are seen ; we shall know even 
as we are known. 

Mr. Dickens made the poor idiotic Barnaby and the 
coarse, strong Hugh of the Maypole Inn hold conversations 
about the wonders of the visible heavens ; and they inquire 
of each other whence comes the light of the innumerable 
stars that dot the skies. When they were both under sen 
tence of death, and, just before the dawn of day, were led 



362 LIFE OF VANCE. 

across the prison yard toward the place of execution, Bar- 
naby, looking up toward the myriad lights of the night, 
exclaims 

Hugh, we shall know what makes the stars shine, now. 

Our faith here to-day ought to exceed that of the poor 
simpleton created by the imagination of the novelist. Not 
only shall we know what makes the stars shine, but all 
the wonders of the vast universe shall be open to our 
search. Our homes shall be among the heavens ; the 
problems that our burdened souls have studied so despair 
ingly shall be happily solved, and we may even become 
participators in the knowledge and power of Him 

Whose power o er moving worlds presides, 
Whose voice created and whose wisdom guides. 

To this felicity the friend we now with tenderness 
remember has already fully advanced. We would not, if 
we could, bring him back to earth, slowly and painfully to 
die again. We wait, reverently and hopefully, for the 
summons to us to join him in some star that is shining, from 
eternity to eternity, with unfading luster- in God s illimita 
ble wilderness of worlds. 

[Address of Mr. Jarvis.] 

Mr. PRESIDENT : I had not intended to speak on this 
occasion, for the distinguished dead of whose virtues 
others have spoken so justly and so feelingly was to me 
more like a brother than a friend. But in the last few 
hours I have concluded to speak, and I now ask to add 
this simple but sincere tribute to his memory. 

Vance was arrested, imprisoned in the Old Capitol at 
Washington, but -was released after some months, and then 
he, too, addressed himself to the great work of bringing 
order out of chaos and prosperity out of poverty. Before 
much had been done in that direction his State passed 
through the bitter days and years of reconstruction, in 
which he stood all the time for law and order and good 



LIFE OF VANCE. 363 

government. In the election of 1870 the Democrats car 
ried the Legislature of his State, and when that body con 
vened Vance was elected to the United States Senate, but 
the Senate declined to remove his disabilities or to admit 
him to his seat in that body. 

It was upon his return trip home after his futile effort to 
get his disabilities removed that he is said to have made 
the humorous but pointed reply to the two clergymen 
who, sitting in the seat in front of him, were engaged in a 
heated discussion of the doctrine of election. They were 
not able to agree, and seeing that the gentleman behind 
them seemed to be much interested in the discussion they 
appealed to him for his opinion. To their inquiry he 
promptly replied: "My experience is that the election is 
not worth much if your disabilities are not removed." 

The Republicans had held the executive and judicial 
departments of the State government of North Carolina 
from July, 1868, to 1876, and they did not intend to sur 
render these departments without a stubborn fight. They 
nominated the Hon. Thomas Settle, their ablest man, for 
Governor, to lead their forces in the great campaign of 
1876, and he Democrats nominated the idol of the people, 
Hon. Zebulon B. Vance, to lead them. These two giants, 
the idols of their respective parties, agreed upon and con 
ducted a joint canvass of the State, and for three months 
they addressed in joint debate the greatest political assem 
blages ever seen in North Carolina. 

Thousands nocked to hear them every day. Great cav 
alcades met them on the highway and escorted them to 
the places of speaking. It was by far the most wonderful 
political campaign ever seen in the State, and Vance 
created such enthusiasm among his followers that he was 
swept into office by a majority of more than 13,000. He 
was inaugurated Governor of his State for the third time 
on the ist of January, 1877, but ne on ly served out half of 
his term of four years. Being elected to the United States 



364 UFE OF VANCE. 

Senate in January, 1879, he resigned the office of Governor 
to accept a seat in the Senate, and his successor in the 
Governor s office was inaugurated on the 5th day of February, 
1879. The reforms and plans which he inaugurated during 
his two years of service as Governor for the development 
and upbuilding of his State were pursued and carried out 
by his successor in office to the great advantage of the 
people and the public interest. 

He was re-elected Senator in 1885 and again in 1891. Of 
his service in the Senate, of which the people of his State 
are justly proud, I shall not speak. His colleagues who 
served with him have lovingly done this. Thus we see 
that he was twice elected to the lower House of Congress, 
three times Governor of his State, and four times to the 
United States Senate. In these particulars, taken together, 
he had an indorsement by the people of his State never 
given to any other North Carolinian. e 

Mr. President, I have thus far spoken of the public 
vServices of this truly great man. I now beg to detain the 
Senate a moment with a few observations on some of his 
characteristics. He was an intellectual giant, and could 
have easily been in the foremost rank of any department of 
life to which he devoted his time and attention. He gave 
his life to the public service and to the people. His success 
was their success ; his glory, their glory. They shared in 
all his trials and all his triumphs. No man in public life 
ever stood more steadfastly by the people and for the people 
than did Zebulon B. Vance. 

In his political creed he was both a Republican and a 
Democrat in the broadest and best sense of these terms. He 
was a Republican in that he believed in a republic. He 
was a Democrat in that he believed in the people ruling 
that republic. Mr. President, our impressions of objects 
and men are often colored, if not controlled, by the point of 
view from which we see or contemplate them. So our con 
clusions are often biased, if not actually formed, by the 



LIFE OF VACNE. 365 

standpoint from which we approach the study of great public 
questions. Vance always approached the study of these 
questions from a safe and right standpoint, and he always 
reached correct conclusions. 

His starting point was plain and simple, but sure and 
safe. It was from the standpoint of the people s interest. 
He argued this is the people s government. They are the 
sovereigns, and those chosen to make or administer the law 
are their servants. What is their interest in this matter? 
was his inquiry. That being determined, the way was easy 
and the path of duty plain. The people s good was what 
he always aimed at. No power on earth could turn him 
aside from that line of action. The people of his State 
knew and appreciated his devotion to them and they loved 
him for it. They were ever ready to follow where he led. 
His God was their God; his ballot, their ballot. 

Individual rights and the majesty of the civil law never 
had a wanner advocate or more steadfast frien d in this 
country than this great tribune of the people. I doubt if 
there were many States in the Union or the Confederacy 
during the war in which the writ of habeas corpus, that 
great writ of the people s rights, could at all times be 
promptly executed and obeyed. In most of the States I 
presume men were arrested, imprisoned, detained, and de 
nied the benefits of this great writ, but it did not happen in 
North Carolina. 

Governor Vance, although ardently supporting the Con 
federacy, stood by the writ, even in the face of the army 
itself, and upheld the majesty of the civil law. At no 
time in his whole public career was he ever known to con 
sent to the surrender of or encroachment upon any of the 
individual rights of an American citizen, but he was ever 
ready with tongue and pen to defend them from any attack, 
no matter whence that attack came. He was truly a stu 
dent of the science of government, of politics, of the history 
of the rise and progress of States, nations, and peoples, and 



366 LIFE OF VANCE. 

the more he learned and knew the more ardently attached 
he became to republican America and her democratic in 
stitutions. It was here that the people had their greatest 
opportunities and their highest aspirations. It was his glory 
to stand by the people in all their struggles and aspirations 
for broader opportunities and a higher and better life. 

As a writer, a humorist, and an orator he was in the 
front rank of the foremost men of his day. But of these I 
shall not speak. That work will best be performed by his 
biographer. It was as a public servant and as a friend that 
I knew him best, and it is of these that I have preferred to 
speak. Many circumstances brought us close together, and 
I may be pardoned for saying that it is probable that I had 
his confidence as fully and knew as much of his inward life 
and labors and thoughts in the interest of the people and 
the public service as any one of his closest friends. I think 
he has talked freely with me about every public question 
that has been of any concern to the people of North Caro 
lina since the close of the war, and I desire here in my 
place in the Senate to say that I never heard him discuss 
one of these questions in his own interest. The only con 
cern I ever knew him to have was how to solve them in the 
true and best interest of the people. He was always ready 
to assume any responsibility or to undergo any labor which, 
in his opinion, could serve the public interest. 

In that section of the State where he was born and where 
his body now rests there are many grand and lofty moun 
tains standing upon their eternal base and lifting their 
heads into the very clouds. Some are three, some are four, 
some five, and some are more than six thousand feet high. 
Any one of them serves as a guide to the traveler and im 
presses him with its grandeur and greatness. But there is 
one that towers high above them all. Mount Mitchell 
stands out boldly as the great center of attraction, and it is 
to this that people always turn when they wish to gaze 



LIFE OF VANCE. 367 

upon the perfection and consummation of great mountain 
scenery in all its magnificence and sublimity. 

So in North Cnrolina we have had great men, any one 
of whom was and is an honor to the State, and of whom our 
people have been and still are justly proud ; but it is no 
disparagement to those to say that Zebulon Baird 
Vance was the Mount Mitchell of all our great men, and 
that in the affections and love of the people he towered 
above them all. As ages to come will not be able to mar 
the grandeur and greatness of Mount Mitchell, so they will 
not be able to efface from the hearts and minds of the peo 
ple the name and memory of their beloved Vance. 

In the days of his toil and labors, when fatigue and 
weariness came upon him, he was fond of retiring to his 
native mountains, and there, beneath their shadows, he 
found rest and restoration. When his life work was done 
it was meet and proper that his body should be laid to rest 
at the feet of these same mountains. Shall his body again 
be restored? Is death an eternal sleep, or is it rest to the 
body, which in God s own appointed time shall come forth 
again, restored and reunited with the immortal soul? 

This man was not too great to accept the teachings of 
the Christian religion. He believed in the immortality of 
the soul and in the resurrection of the body. He was a 
great student of the Bible, and few were more conversant 
with the Scriptures than he was. He obeyed its precepts 
and seized upon its promises. It was in this faith that he 
passed from time to eternity. And oh, Mr. President, what 
a comfort it is to know that our friends die in such a faith ! 
How insignificant human greatness becomes in the presence 
of death or any great manifestations of divine power ! 

Man, isolated and alone, is but a tiny atom in the created 
universe. In the busy bustle of life, with his friends and 
fellows shouting his praise, man feels his importance and 
his power ; but let him stand out alone in the dread dark 
ness of night, when the heavens are black and angry or 



368 LIFE OF VANCE. 

when the earth quakes and trembles, and then how utterly 
helpless and dependent he becomes ! It is in such times as 
these, as well as in the still more trying ordeal when he 
enters alone, as he must do, the dark valley and shadow of 
death, that man is ready to acknowledge his nothingness 
and to cry out to an invisible power for help. 

Oh, what a blessing it is in an hour like that to feel that 
He who created the worlds and controls all the forces of 
nature has us in His keeping, and, like a loving father, 
doth care for us and guide us ! Our dead friend had that 
blessing. While in the sunshine and vigor of life he com 
plied with the conditions set out in the Bible upon which 
he could have the love and companionship of his Heavenly 
Father when the storm came and Death claimed him as his 
own. Shall we see him again? May God in His infinite 
mercy receive us with him into His Kingdom above. 

MR. RANSOM Mr. President, I beg leave to state that 
it was the desire and purpose of the Senator from Connect 
icut (Mr. Hawley) and the Senator from Virginia (Mr. 
Daniel) to speak in affectionate remembrance and honor of 
Senator Vance, but they were both called away unavoida 
bly and could not be here. 

MR. HARRIS (Mr. Butler in the chair) As a further 
mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, I move that 
the Senate adjourn. 

The motion was unanimously agreed to, and the Senate 
adjourned until Monday, January 21, 1895, at 12 o clock m. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 369 



CHAPTER XX. 

LECTURE THE SCATTERED NATION. 

History of the Hebrew People Their Characteristics and Peculiarities 
Their Persistence and Persecutions Their Merits and Heroic 
Qualities Vance s Greatest Lecture. 

AYS Prof. Maury : "There is a river in the ocean. In 
the severest droughts it never fails, and in the 
mightiest floods it never overflows. The Gulf of Mexico 
is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic seas. It is 
the Gulf Stream. There is in the world no other such 
majestic flow of waters. Its current is more rapid than 
the Mississippi or the Amazon, and its volume more than 
a thousand times greater. Its waters, as far out from the 
Gulf as the Carolina coasts, are of an indigo blue ; they 
are so distinctly marked that their line of junction 
with the common sea-water may be traced by the eye. 
Often one-half of a vessel may be perceived floating in 
Gulf stream water, while the other half is in common 
water of the sea, so sharp is the line and such the want of 
affinity between those waters, and such too the reluctance, 
so to speak, on the part of those of the Gulf Stream to 
mingle with the common water of the sea." 

This curious phenomenon in the physical world has its 
counterpart in the moral. There is a lonely river in the 
midst of the ocean of mankind. The mightiest floods of 
human temptation have never caused it to overflow and 
the fiercest fires of human cruelty, though seven times 
heated in the furnace of religious bigotry, have never 
caused it to dry up, although its waves for two thousand 
years have rolled crimson with the blood of its martyrs. 
Its fountain is in the grey dawn of the world s history, 
and its mouth is somewhere in the shadows of eternity. It 

25 



270 LIFE OF VANCK. 

too refuses to mingle with the surrounding waves, and the 
line which divides its restless billows from the common 
waters of humanity is also plainly visible to the eye. It 
is the Jewish race. 

The Jew is beyond doubt the most remarkable man of 
this world past or present. Of all the stories of the sons 
of men, there is none so wild, so wonderful, so full of 
extreme mutation, so replete with suffering and horror, so 
abounding in extraordinary providences, so overflowing 
with scenic romance. There is no man who approaches 
him in the extent and character of the influence which he 
has exercised over the human family. His history is the 
history of our civilization and progress in this world, and 
our faith and hope in that which is to come. From him 
have we derived the form and pattern of all that is excel 
lent on earth or in heaven. If, as DeQuincy says, the 
Roman Emperors, as the great accountants for the happi 
ness of more men and men more cultivated than ever before, 
were entrusted to the motions of a single will, had a 
special, singular_and mysterious relation to the secret coun 
cils of heaven thrice truly may it be said of the Jew. 
Palestine, his home, was the central chamber of God s 
administration. He was at once the- grand usher to these 
glorious courts, the repository of the councils of the 
Almighty and the envoy of the divine mandates to the 
consciences of men. He was the priest and faith-giver to 
mankind, and as such, in spite of the jibe and jeer, he must 
ever be considered as occupying a peculiar and sacred rela 
tion to all other peoples of this world. Even now, though 
the Jews have long since ceased to exist as a consolidated 
nation, inhabiting a common country, and for eighteen 
hundred years have been scattered far and near over the 
wide earth, their strange customs, their distinct features, 
personal peculiarities and their scattered unity, make them 
still a wonder and an astonishment. 

Though dead as a nation as we speak of nations they 



LIFE OF VANCE. 371 

yet live. Their ideas fill the world and move the wheels 
of its progress, even as the sun, when he sinks behind the 
Western hills, yet fills the heavens with the remnants of his 
glory. As the destruction of matter in one form is made 
necessary to its resurrection in another, so it would seem 
that the perishing of the Jewish nationality was in order 
to the universal acceptance and the everlasting establish 
ment of Jewish ideas. Never before was there an instance 
of such a general rejection of the person and character, and 
acceptance of the doctrines and dogmas of a people. 

We admire with unlimited admiration the Greek and 
Roman, but reject with contempt his crude and beastly 
divinities. We affect to despise the Jew, but accept and 
adore the pure conception of a God which he taught us, 
and whose real existence the history of the Jew more than 
all else establishes. When the Court Chaplain of Frederick 
the Great was asked by that bluff monarch for a brief and 
concise summary of the argument in support of the truths 
of Scripture, he instantly replied, with a force to which 
nothing could be added, "The Jews, Your Majesty, the Jews." 

I propose briefly to glance at their history, origin and 
civilization, peculiarities, present condition and probable 
destiny. 

"A people of Semitic race," says the Encyclopaedia, 
"whose ancestors appear at the very dawn of the history 
of mankind, on the banks of Euphrates, the Jordan and 
the Nile, their fragments are now to be seen in larger or 
smaller numbers, in almost all of the cities of the globe, 
from Batavia to New Orleans, from Stockholm to Cape 
Town. W r hen little more numerous than a family, they 
had their language, customs and peculiar observances, 
treated with princes and in every respect acted as a nation. 
Though broken, as if into atoms, and scattered through all 
climes, among the rudest and the most civilized nations, 
they have preserved, through thousands of years, common 
features and observances, a common religion, literature 



372 UFE OF VANCE. 

and sacred language. Without any political union, with 
out any common head or centre, they are generally 
regarded and regard themselves as a nation. They began 
as nomads, emigrating from country to country ; their law 
made them agriculturists for fifteen centuries ; their exile 
transformed them into a mercantile people. They have 
struggled for their national existence against the Egyp 
tians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Syrians and Romans; have 
been conquered and nearly exterminated by each of these 
powers and have survived them all. They have been 
oppressed and persecuted by Emperors and Republics, by 
Sultans and by Popes, Moors and Inquisitors ; they were 
proscribed in Catholic Spain, Protestant Norway and Greek 
Muscovy, while their persecutors sang the hymns of their 
psalmody, revered their books, believed in their prophets 
and even persecuted them in the name of their God. 
They have numbered philosophers among the Greeks of 
Alexandria, and the Saracens of Cordova; have trans 
planted the wisdom of the East beyond the Pyrenees and 
the Rhine, and have been treated as pariahs among 
Pagans, Mahommedans and Christians. They have fought 
for liberty under Kosciusko and Blucher, and popular 
assemblies among the Sclavi and Germans, still withheld 
from them the right of living in certain towns, villages 
and streets." 

Whilst no people can claim such an unmixed purity of 
blood, certainly none can establish such antiquity of origin, 
such unbroken generations of descent. That splendid 
passage of Macaulay so often quoted, in reference to the 
Roman Pontiffs, loses its force in sight of Hebrew history. 
u No other institution," says he, "is left standing which carries 
the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose 
from the Pantheon, and when camels, leopards, and tigers 
bounded in the Iberian amphitheatre. The proudest royal 
houses are but of yesterday as compared with the line of the 
Supreme Pontiffs; that line we trace back in unbroken 



LIFE OF VANCE. 373 

lines, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the 
nineteenth century, to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the 
eighth, and far beyond Pepin, the august dynasty extends 
until it is lost in the twilight of fable. The Republic of 
Venice came next in antiquity, but the Republic of Venice 
is modern compared with the Papacy, and the Republic of 
Venice is gone and the Papacy remains. The Catholic 
Church was great and respected before the Saxon had set 
foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, 
when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when 
idols were still worshipped in the Temple at Mecca; and 
she may still exist, in undiminished vigor w r hen some 
traveller from New Zealand in the midst of a vast solitude 
shall take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to 
sketch the ruins of St Paul." This is justly esteemed one 
of the most eloquent passages in our literature, but I sub 
mit it is not history. 

The Jewish people, church and institutions are still left 
standing, though the stones of the temple remain no longer 
one upon the other, though its sacrificial fires are forever 
extinguished ; and though the tribes, whose glory it was, 
wander with weary feet throughout the earth. And what 
is the line of Roman Pontiffs compared to that splendid 
dynasty of the successors of Aaron and Levi? "The twilight 
of fable," in which the line of Pontiffs began, was but the 
noonday brightness of the Jewish priesthood. Their insti 
tution carries the mind back to the age when the prophet, 
in rapt mood, stood over Babylon and uttered God s wrath 
against that grand and wondrous mistress of the Euphra- 
tean plains when the Memphian chivalry still gave 
precedence to the chariots and horsemen who each morning 
poured forth from the brazen gates of the abode of Ammon; 
when Tyre and Sidon were yet building their palaces by 
the sea, and Carthage, their greatest daughter, was yet 
unborn. That dynasty of prophetic priests existed even 
before Clio s pen had learned to record the deeds of men ; 



374 LIFE OF VANCE. 

and when that splendid, entombed civilization once lighted 
the shores of the Erythraean Sea, the banks of the 
Euphrates and the plains of Shinar, with a glory incon 
ceivable, of which there is nought now to tell, except the 
dumb eloquence of ruined temples and buried cities. 

Then, too, it must be remembered that these Pontiffs 
were but Gentiles in the garb of Jews, imitating their 
whole routine. All Christian churches are but off-shoots 
from or grafts upon the old Jewish stock. Strike out all 
of Judaism from the Christian church and there remains 
nothing but an unmeaning superstition. 

The Christian is simply the successor of the Jew the 
glory of the one is likewise the glory of the other. The 
Savior of the world was, after the flesh, a Jew born of a 
Jewish maiden ; so likewise were all of the apostles and 
first propagators of Christianity. The Christian religion 
is equally Jewish with that of Moses and the prophets. 

I am not unaware of the fact that other people besides 
the Semites had a conception of the true God long before 
He was revealed to Abraham. The Hebrew Scriptures 
themselves testify this, and so likewise do the books of 
the very oldest of written records. Tlue fathers of 
the great Aryan race, the shepherds of Iran had so vivid 
a conception of the unity of God, as to give rise to the 
opinion that they too had once had a direct revelation. It 
is more likely, however, that traditions of this God had 
descended among them from the Deluge which ultimately 
became adulterated by polytheistic imaginings. It seems 
natural that these people of highly sensitive intellects, 
dwelling beneath the serene skies, that impend over the 
plains and mountains of Southwestern Asia, thickly stud 
ded with the calm and glorious stars, should mistake these 
most majestic emblems of the Creator for the Creator himself. 
Hence, no doubt, arose the worship of light and fire by the 
Iramians, and Sabceanism or star worship by the Chaldeans. 
But the better opinion of learned orientalists is that while 



LIFE OF VANCE. 375 

the outward or exoteric doctrine taught the worship of the 
symbols, the esoteric or secret doctrines of Zoroastes, his 
predecessors and disciples, taught in fact the worship of 
the Principle, the First Cause, the Great Unknown, tJie 
Universal Intelligence, Magdam or God. There can be 
no doubt that Abraham brought this monotheistic concep 
tion with him from Chaldea ; but notwithstanding this 
dim traditional light, which was abroad outside of the race 
of Shem, perhaps over the entire breadth of that splendid 
prehistoric civilization of the Arabian Cushite, yet for the 
more perfect light, which revealed to us God and His 
attributes, \ve are unquestionably indebted to the Jew. 

We owe to him, if not the conception, at least the pres 
ervation of pure monotheism. For whether this knowl 
edge was original with these eastern people or traditional 
merely, it was speedily lost, by all of them except the 
Jews. Whilst an unintelligent use of symbolism enveloped 
the central figure with a cloud of idolatry and led the 
Magi to the worship of Light and Fire, the Sabean to the 
adoration of the heavenly host, the Egyptian to bowing 
down before Iris and Osiris, the Carthagenian to the pro 
pitiation of Baal and Astarte by human sacrifice and the 
subtle Greek to the deification of the varied laws of Nature; 
the bearded Prophets of Israel were ever thundering forth, 
"Know O, Israel, that the Lord thy God is one God, and 
Him only shalt thou serve." 

Even his half-brother Ishmael, after an idolatrous sleep 
of centuries, awoke with a sharp and bloody protest against 
Polytheism, and established the unity of God as the corner 
stone of his faith. In this respect the influence which the 
Jew has exercised over the destinies of mankind place him 
before all the men of this world. For in this idea of God, 
all of the faith and creeds of the dominant peoples of the 
earth centre. It divides like a great mountain range the 
civilizations of the ancient and modern worlds. Many en 
lightened men of antiquity acknowledge the beauty of this 



376 LIFE OF VANCE. 

conception, though they did not embrace it. Socrates did 
homage to it, and Josephus declares that he derived his 
sublime ideal from the Jewish Scripures. The accomplished 
Tacitus seemed to grasp it, as the following passage will 
show. In speaking of the Jews and in contrasting them with 
the Egyptians, he says : "With regard to the Deity, their 
creed is different. The Egyptians worship various animals 
and also certain symbolical representatives which are the 
work of man. The Jews acknowledge one God only, and 
Him they see in the mind s eye, and Him they adore in 
contemplation, condemning as impious idolaters, all who 
with perishable materials wrought into the human form, 
attempt to give a representation of the Deity. The God of 
the Jews is the great governing mind that directs and 
guides the whole frame of nature eternal, infinite and 
neither capable of change or subject to decay." 

This matchless and eloquent definition of the Deity has 
never been improved upon, but it seems that it made slight 
impression upon the philosophical historian s mind. And 
yet what a contrast it is with his own coarse, material gods ! 
Indeed the rejection or ignorance of this pure conception by 
the acute and refined intellects of the mediaeval ancients 
strikes us with wonder, and illustrates the truth, that no man 
by searching can find out God. I am not unaware that the 
Arabian idea of Deity received many modifications from 
the conceptions of adjoining and contemporary nations 
by cross-fertilization of ideas, as the process has been called. 
From the Egyptians and Assyrians were received many of 
these modifications, but the chief impression was from the 
Greeks. The general effect was to broaden and enlarge 
the original idea, whose tendency was to regard the Su 
preme Being as a tribal Deity, into the grander, universal 
God, or Father of all. If time permitted it would be a most 
interesting study to trace the action and reaction of 
Semitic upon Hellenistic thought. How Hellenistic phil 
osophy produced Pharisaism or the progressive party of the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 377 

Hebrew Theists; how Pharisaism in turn produced Stoicism, 
which again prepared the way for Christianity itself. 

The whole polity of the Jews was originally favorable to 
agriculture ; and though they adhered to it closely for many 
centuries, yet, the peculiar facilities of their country ulti 
mately forced them largely into commerce. The great 
caravan routes from the rich countries of the East, Mesopo 
tamia, Shinar, Babylonia, Medea, Assyria and Persia, to the 
ports of the Mediterranean, lay through Palestine, whilst 
Spain, Italy, Gaul, Asia Minor, Northern Africa, Egypt, 
and all the riches that then clustered around the shores of 
the Great Sea and upon the islands in its bosom, had easy 
access to its harbors. In fact the wealth of the New 
World, its civilization, refinement and art lay in concentric 
circles around Jerusalem as a focal point. The Jewish peo 
ple grew rich in spite of themselves and gradually forsook 
their agricultural simplicity. 

But more than all things else their institutions interest 
mankind. Their laws for the protection of property, the 
enforcement of industry and the upholding of the State 
were such as afforded the strongest impulse to personal 
freedom and national vigor. The great principle of their 
real estate laws was the inalienability of the land. Houses 
in walled towns might be sold in perpetuity, if unredeemed 
within the year; land only for a limited period. At the 
year of Jubilee every estate reverted without repurchase to 
the original owners, and even during this period it might 
be redeemed by paying the value of the purchase of the 
year which intervened until the Jubilee. Little as we may 
now be disposed to value this remarkable Agrarian law, 
says Dean Milman, it secured the political equality of the 
people and anticipated all the mischiefs so fatal to the early 
Republics of Greece and Italy, the appropriation of the 
whole territory of the State, by a rich and powerful landed 
oligarchy, with the consequent convulsing of the commun 
ity from the deadly struggles between the patrician and the 



378 LIFE OF VANCE. 

plebeian orders. In the Hebrew state the improvident 
man might indeed reduce himself and his family to penury 
or servitude, but he could not perpetuate a race of slaves or 
paupers. Every fifty years God the King and Lord of the 
soil, as it were, resumed the whole territory and granted it 
back in the same portions to the descendants of the original 
possessors. 

It is curious to observe, continues the same author, in 
this earliest practicable Utopia, the realization of Machia- 
velli s great maxim, the constant renovation of a state, 
according to the first principles of its constitution, a maxim 
recognized by our own statesmen, which they designate as 
a "frequent recurrence to the first principles." How little 
we learn that is new. The civil polity of the Jews is so 
ultimately blended historically with the ecclesiastical that 
the former is not easily comprehended by the ordinary stu 
dent. Their scriptures relate principally to the latter, and to 
obtain a knowledge of the other, resort must be had to the 
Talmud and the Rabinical expositions, a task that few 
men will let themselves to, who hope to do anything else 
in this world. Yet a little study will repay richly the political 
student, by showing him the origin of many excellent semi 
nal principles which we regard as modern. Their govern 
ment was in form a theocratic democracy. God was not 
only their spiritual but their temporal sovereign also, who 
promulgated his laws by the mouths of his inspired pro 
phets. Hence their terrible and unflagging denunciations 
of all forms of idolatry it was not only a sin against pure 
religion, but it was treason also. In most other particu 
lars there was a democracy far purer than that of Athens. 
The very important principle of the separation of the 
functions of government was recognized. The civil and 
ecclesiastical departments were kept apart, the civil ruler 
exercised no ecclesiastic functions and vice versa. When, 
as sometimes happened, the two functions rested in the 
same man, they were yet exercised differently, as was not 



LIFE OF VANCE. 379 

long since our custom in the administration of equity as 
contra-distinguished from law. 

Their organic law containing the elements of their polity, 
though given by God Himself, was yet required to be 
solemnly ratified by the whole people. This was done on 
Ebal and Gerruzzim and is perhaps the first, as it is certainly 
the grandest constitutional convention ever held among 
men. On these two lofty mountains, separated by a deep 
and narrow ravine, all Israel, comprising three millions of 
souls, were assembled; elders, prophets, priests, women and 
children, and 600,000 warriors, led by the spears of Judah 
and supported by the archers of Benjamin. In this mighty 
presence, surrounded by the sublime accessions to the 
grandeur of the same, the law was read by the Levites, line 
bv line, item by item, whilst the tribes on either height 

-- J o 

signified their acceptance thereof by responsive amens, 
which pierced the heavens. Of all the great principles 
established for the happiness and good government of our 
race, though hallowed by the blood of the bravest and the 
best, and approved by centuries of trial, no one had a 
grander origin, or a more glorious exemplification than this 
one, that all governments derive their just powers from the 
consent of the governed. 

So much for their organic law. Their legislation upon 
the daily exigencies and development of their society was 
also provided for on the most radically democratic basis, 
with the practical element of representation. The Sanhe 
drim legislated for all ecclesiastical affairs, and had also 
original judicial powers and jurisdiction over all offences 
against the religious law, and appellate jurisdiction of many 
other offences. It was the principal body of their polity, 
as religion was the principal object of their constitution. It 
was thoroughly representative. Local and municipal 
government was fully recognized. The legislation for a 
city was done by the elders thereof, the prototypes in name 
and character of our eldermen or aldermen. 



380 LIFE OF VANCE. 

They were the keystone of the whole social fabric, and 
so directly represented the people, that the terms "elders 
and people" are often used as synonymous. The legisla 
tion for a tribe was done by the princes of that tribe, and 
the heads of families thereof ; whilst the elders of all the 
cities, heads of all the families and princes of all the tribes 
when assembled, constituted the National Legislature, or 
congregation. The functions of this representative body, 
however, were gradually usurped and absorbed by the 
Sanhedrim. 

So thoroughly recognized was the principle of represen 
tation that no man exercised any political rights in his 
individual capacity, but only as a member of the house, 
which was the basis of the Hebrew polity. The ascending 
scale was the family or collection of houses, the tribe or 
collection of families and the congregation or collection of 
tribes. 

The Kingdom thus composed was in fact a confedera 
tion, and exemplified both its strength and its weakness. 
The tribes were equal and sovereign within the sphere of 
their individual concerns. A tribe could convene its own 
legislative body at pleasure ; so could any number of tribes 
convene a joint body whose enactments were binding only 
upon the tribes represented therein. A single tribe or any 
number combined could make treaties, form alliances and 
wage war, whilst the others remained at peace with the 
enemy of their brethren. They were to all intents and 
purposes independent States, joined together for common 
objects on the principle of federal republics, with a general 
government of delegated and limited powers. Within their 
tribal boundaries their sovereignty was absolute minus only 
the powers granted to the central agent. They elected 
their chiefs, generals and kings. Next to the imperative 
necessity of common defense -their bond of union was their 
divine constitution, one religion and one blood. Justice 
was made simple and was administered cheaply. Among 



OF VANCE. 381 

rio people in this world did the law so recognize the dignity 
and sacred nature of man made in the image of God and 
the creature of his especial covenanting care. 

The constitution of their criminal courts and their code 
of criminal laws was most remarkable. The researches of 
the learned have failed to discover in all antiquity anything 
so explicit, so humane, and embracing so many of what 
are now considered the essential elements of enlightened 
jurisprudence. Only four offenses were punished by death. 
By English law, no longer ago than the reign of George 
I., more than 150 offenses were so punishable! The court 
for the trial of these capital offenders was the local Sanhe 
drim, composed of twenty-three members, who "were both 
judges and jurors, prosecuting attorneys and counsel for the 
accused. 

The tests applied both to them and the accusing wit 
nesses, as to capacity and impartiality, were more rigid 
than those known to exist any where else in the world. 
The whole procedure was so guarded as to convey the idea 
that the first object was to save the criminal. 

From the first step of the accusation to the last moment 
preceding final execution, no caution was neglected, no 
solemnity was omitted, that might aid the prisoner s 
acquittal. No man in any way interested in the result, no 
gamester of any kind, no usurer, no store dealer, no relative 
of accused or accuser, no seducer or adulterer, no man 
without a fixed trade or business, could sit on that court. 
Nor could any aged man whose infirmities might make 
him harsh, nor any childless man or bastard, as being 
insensible to the relations of parent and child. 

Throughout the whole system of the Jewish government 
there ran a broad, genuine and refreshing stream of demo 
cracy, such as the world then knew little of, and has since 
but little improved. For of course the political student will 
not be deceived by names. It matters not what their 
chief magistrates and legislators were called, if in fact and 



LIFE OF VANCE. 

in substance, their forms were eminently democratic. 
Masters of political philosophy tell us and tell us with 
truth that power in a State must and will reside with 
those who own the soil. If the land belongs to a king the 
government is a despotism, though every man in it voted; 
if the land belongs to a select few, it is an aristocracy; but 
if it belongs to the many, it is a democracy, for here is the 
division of power. Now, where, either in the ancient or 
modern world, will you find such a democracy as that of 
Israel ? For where was there ever such a perfect and con 
tinuing division of the land among the people ? It was 
impossible for this power ever to be concentrated in the 
hands of one or a select few. The lands belonged to God 
as the head of the Jewish nation the right of eminent 
domain, so to speak, was in Him and the people were 
His tenants. 

The year of Jubilee, as we have seen, came ever in time 
to blast the schemes of the ambitious and designing. 

Their law provided for no standing army, the common 
defense was intrusted to the patriotism of the people, who 
kept and bore arms at will, and believing that their hills 
and valleys would be best defended by footmen, the use of 
cavalry was forbidden, lest it should tend to feed the pas 
sion for foreign conquest. 

The ecclesiastical Sanhedrim as before observed, was 
the principal body of their polity, its members were com 
posed of the wisest and most learned of their people, who 
expounded and enforced the law and surpervised all the in 
ferior courts. This exposition upon actual cases arising 
did not suffice the learned doctors, who made the great 
mistake which modern courts have learned to avoid, of 
uttering their dicta in anticipated cases. These decisions 
and dicta constitute the ground work of the Talmuds, of 
which there are two copies extant. They constitute the 
most remarkable collection of oriental wisdom, obstruse 
learning, piety, blasphemy and obscenity ever got together 



LIFE OF VANCE. 383 

in the world ; and bear the same relation to the Jewish 
law, which our judicial decisions do to our statute law. 
Could they be disentombed from the mass of rubbish by 
which they are covered said to be so great as to deter all 
students who are not willing to devote a life-time to the 
task, from entering upon their study they would no doubt 
be of inestimable value to theologians, by furnishing all 
the aids which cotemporaneous construction must ever im 
part. 

Time would not permit me if I had the power, to 
describe the chief city of the Jews, their religious and 
political capital "Jerusalem the Holy" "the dwelling 
of peace." In the clays of Jewish prosperity it was in all 
things a fair type of this strange country and people. 
Enthroned upon the hills of Judah, overflowing with riches, 
the free-will offerings of a devoted people decked with 
the barbaric splendor of eastern taste, it was the rival in 
power and wondrous beauty of the most magnificent cities 
of antiquity. Nearly everyone of her great competitors 
have mouldered into dust. The bat and the owl inhabit 
their towers, and the fox litters her young in the corridors 
of their palaces, but Jerusalem still sits in solitary grandeur 
upon the lonely hills, and though faded, feeble and ruinous 
still towers in moral splendor above all the spires and 
domes and pinnacles ever erected by human hands. Nor 
can I dwell, tempting as is the theme, upon the scenery, 
the glowing landscapes, the cultivated fields, gardens and 
vineyards and gurgling fountains of that pleasant land. 
Many high summits and even one of the towers in the 
walls of the city of Jerusalem were said to have afforded a 
perfect view of the whole land from border to border. I 
must be content with asking you to imagine what a divine 
prospect would burst upon the vision from the summit of 
that stately tower ; and picture the burning sands of the 
desert far beyond the mysterious waters of the Dead Sea 
on the one hand, and the shining waves of the great sea 



384 LIFE OF VANCE. 

on the other, flecked with the white sails of the Tyrian ships, 
whilst hoary Lebanon, crowned with its diadem of perpetual 
snow glittered in the morning light like a dome of fire tem 
pered with the emerald of its cedars a fillet of glory around its 
brow. The beauty of that band of God s people, the charm 
of their songs, the comeliness of their maidens, the celestial 
peace of their homes, the romance of their national history, 
and the sublimity of their faith, so entice me, that I would not 
know when to cease, should I once enter upon their story. 
I must leave behind, too, the blood-stained record of their 
last great seige, illustrated by their splendid but unavailing 
courage; their fatal dissensions and final destruction, with 
all its incredible horrors; of their exile and slavery, of their 
dispersion in all lands and kingdoms, of their persecutions, 
sufferings, wanderings and despair, for eighteen hundred 
years. Indeed, it is a story that puts to shame not only our 
Christianity, but our common humanity. It staggers belief 
to be told, not only that such things could be done at all, 
by blinded heathen or ferocious Pagan, but done by 
Christian people and in the name of Him, the meek and 
lowly, who was called the Prince of Peace, and the harbinger 
of good will to men. Still it is an instructive story; it 
seems to mark in colors never to be forgotten, both the 
wickedness and the folly of intolerance. Truly, it serves 
to show that the wrath of a religious bigot is more fearful 
and ingenious than the cruelest of tortures hatched in the 
councils of hell. It is not my purpose to comment upon 
the religion of the Jews, nor shall I undertake to say that 
they gave no cause in the earlier ages of Christianity for the 
hatred of their opponents. Undoubtedly they gave much 
cause, and exhibited themselves much bitterness and ferocity 
towards the followers of the Nazarine; which however, it 
may be an excuse, is far from being a justification of the 
centuries of horror which followed. But if constancy, 
faithfulness and devotion to principle under the most trying 
circumstances to- which the children of men were ever 



LIFE OF VANCE. 385 

subjected, be considered virtues, then indeed are the Jews to 
be admired, They may safely defy the rest of mankind to 
show such undying adherence to accepted faith, such 
wholesale sacrifice for conscience sake. For it they have 
in all ages given up home and country, wives and children, 
gold and goods, ease and shelter and life; for it they endured 
all the evils of an infernal wrath for eighteen centuries; for 
it they have endured, and say what you will endured 
with an inexpressible manhood that which no other portion 
of the human family ever have, or, in my opinion, ever 
would have endured. For sixty generations the heritage 
which the Father left the son was misery, suffering, shame 
and despair; and that son preserved and handed down to his 
son, that black heritage as a golden heir-loom, for the sake 
of God. 

A few remarks upon their numbers and present status in 
the world, their peculiarities and probable destiny, and my 
task will be done. 

Originally, as we have seen, the Jews were an agricul 
tural people, and their civil polity was framed specially for 
this state of things. Indeed the race of Shem originally 
seemed not to have been endowed with the great commer 
cial instincts which characterize the descendents of Ham 
and Japheth. Their cities for the most part, were built in 
the interior, remote from the channels of trade, whilst the 
race of Ham and Japheth built upon the sea shore, and the 
banks of great rivers. But the exile of the Jews converted 
them necessarily into merchants. Denied as a general rule 
citizenship in the land of their refuge, subject at any 
moment to spoliation and expulsion, their only sure means 
of living was in traffic, in which they soon became skilled 
on the principles of a specialty in labor. 

They naturally, therefore, followed in their dispersion, as 
they have ever since done, the great channels of commerce 
throughout the world, with such deflections here and there 
as persecution rendered necessary. But notwithstanding 

26 



LIFE OF VANCE. 

the many impulses to which their wanderings have been sub 
jected, they have in the main obeyed the general laws of 
migration by moving east and west upon nearly the same 
parallels of latitude. Their numbers in spite of losses by 
all causes, including religious defection, which, everything 
considered, has been remarkably small, have steadily 
increased and are now variously estimated at seven to nine 
millions, They may be divided, says Dr. Pressell, into 
three great classes, the enumeration of which will show their 
wonderful dispersion. The first of these inhabit the interior 
of Africa, Arabia, India, China, Turkestan and Bokhara. 
Even the Arabs, Mr. : Disraeli terms Jews upon horseback; 
they are however, the sons of Ishmael half-brothers to the 
Jews. These are the lowest of the Jewish people in wealth, 
intelligence and religion, though said to be superior to their 
Gentile neighbors in each. The second and most numerous 
class is found in Northern Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, 
Mesopotamia, Persia, Asia Minor, European Turkey, Poland, 
Russia and parts of Austria. In these are found the strictly 
orthodox, Talmudical Jews; the sect Chasidcm, who are the 
representatives of the Zealots of Josephus, and the small but 
most interesting sect Karaites, who reject all Rabbanical 
traditions, and are the only Jews who adhere to the strict 
letter of the Scriptures. This class is represented as being 
very ignorant of all except Jewish learning it being pro 
hibited to study any other. Yet they alone are regarded by 
scholars as the proper expounders of ancient Talmudical 
Judaism. As might be inferred from the character of the 
governments under which they live, their political condi 
tion is most unhappy and insecure, and their increase in 
wealth and their social progress are slow. The third and 
last class are those of Central and Western Europe, and the 
United States. These are by far the most intelligent and 
civilized of their race, not only keeping pace with the 
progress of their Gentile neighbors, but contributing to it 
largely. Their Oriential mysticism seems to have given 



LIKE OF VANCE. 387 

place to the stronger practical ideas of Western Europe, 
with which they have come in contact, and they have 
embraced them fully. They are denominated "reforming" 
in their tenets, attempting to eliminate the Talmudical 
traditions which cumber and obscure their creed, and adapt 
it somewhat to the spirit of the age, though in tearing 
this away, they have also, say the theologians, dispensed 
with much of the Old Testament itself. In fact* they have 
become simply Unitarians or Deists. 

Man} r curious facts concerning them are worthy to be 
noted. In various cities of the Eastern World they have 
been for ages, and in some are yet, huddled into crowded 
and filthy streets or quarters, in a manner violative of all 
the rules of health, yet it is a notorious fact that they have 
ever suffered less from pestilential diseases than their Chris 
tian neighbors. So often have the black wings of epidemic 
plagues passed over them, and smitten all around them, 
that ignorance and malignity frequently accused them of 
poisoning the wells and fountains and of exercising sor 
cery. 

They have also in a very noticeable degree been exempt 
from consumption and all diseases of the respiratory 
functions, which in them are said by physicians to be 
wonderfully adapted to enduring the vicissitudes of all 
temperatures and climates. The average duration of 
Gentile life is computed at 26 years it certainly does not 
reach 30 ; that of the Jew, according to a most interesting 
table of statistics which I have seen, is full 37 years. The 
number of infants born to the married couple exceeds that 
of the Gentile races, and the number dying in infancy is 
much smaller. In height they are nearly three inches 
lower than the average of other races ; the width of their 
bodies with outstretched arms is one inch shorter than the 
height, whilst in other races it is eight inches longer on 
the average. But on the other hand, the length of the 
trunk is much greater with the Jew, in proportion to 



388 LIFE OF VANCE. 

height than with other races. In the Negro the trunk 
constitutes 32 per cent, of the heigh th of the whole body, 
in the European 34 per cent., in the Jew 36 per cent. 
What these physical peculiarities have had to do with their 
wonderful preservation and steady increase, I leave for the 
philosophers to explain. 

Their social life is, if possible, still more remarkable. 
There is neither prostitution nor pauperism, and but little 
abject poverty among them. They have some paupers, it 
is true, but they trouble neither you nor me. Crime in the 
malignant, wilful sense of that word is exceedingly rare. I 
have never known but one Jew convicted of any offence 
beyond the grade of a misdemeanor, though I am free to 
say, I have known many a one who would have been 
improved by a little hanging. They contribute liberally to 
all Gentile charities in the communities where they live; 
they ask nothing from the Gentiles for their own. If a Jew 
is broken down in business, the others set him up again or 
give him employment and his children have bread. If one 
is in trouble the others stand by him with counsel and 
material aid, remembering the command, " Thou shalt open 
thine hand wide unto thy brethren, and shall surely lend 
him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth." 
Their average education is far ahead of the races by whom 
they are surrounded. I have never seen an adult Jew who 
could not read, write and compute figures especially the 
figures. Of the four great human industries which con 
duce to the public wealth, agriculture, manufacturing, 
mining and commerce, as a general rule they engage only 
in one. They are neither farmers, miners, smiths, carpen 
ters, mechanics or artizans of any kind. They are merchants 
only, but as such, own few or no ships, and they are rarely 
carriers of any kind. They wander over the whole earth, 
but they are never pioneers, and they found no colonies, 
because as I suppose, being devoted to one business only, 
they lack the self-sustaining elements of those who build 



LIFE OF VANCE. 389 

new States ; and whilst they engage individually in politics 
where they are not disfranchised, and contend for offices 
and honors like other people, they yet seek nowhere polit 
ical poii er or national aggregation. Dealers in every kind 
of merchandise, with rare exceptions they manufacture 
none. They dwell exclusively in towns, cities and villages, 
but as a general rule do net own the property they live 
upon. They marry within themselves entirely, and yet in 
defiance of well known natural laws, with regard to breed 
ing "in and in," their race does not degenerate. With them 
family government is perhaps more supreme than with any 
other people. Divorce, domestic discord, and disobedience 
to parents are almost unknown among them. 

The process by which they have become the leading 
merchants, bankers, and financiers of the world is explained 
by their history. In many places their children were not 
permitted to enter the schools, or even to be enrolled in the 
guilds of labor. Trade was therefore the only avenue left 
open to them. In most countries they dared not or could 
not own the soil. Why a nation of original agriculturists 
ceased to cultivate the soil altogether is therefore only 
seemingly inexplicable. All nations must have a certain 
proportion of their population engaged in tilling the soil; 
as the Jews have no common country they reside in all; and 
in all countries they have the shrewdness to see that whilst 
it is most honorable to plow, yet all men live more com 
fortably than the plowman. In addition to which, as before 
intimated, agriculture so fixed them to the soil that it would 
have been impossible to evade persecution and spoliation. 
They were constantly on the move, and their wealth must 
therefore be portable and easily secreted hence their early 
celebrity as lapidaries, dealers in diamonds and precious 
stones and hence too, their introduction of bills of 
exchange. The utility of these great aids to commerce had 
long been known to the world perhaps by both Greek and 
Roman but could never be made available by them, 



390 LIFE OF VANCE. 

because confidence in the integrity of each other did not 
exist between the drawer and the drawee. But this integrity, 
which the lordly merchants of the Christian and the Pagan 
world could not inspire, was found to exist in the persecuted 
and despised Jew. So much for the lessons of adversity. 
These arts diligently applied, at first from necessity, after 
wards from choice, in the course of centuries made the Jews 
skillful above all men in the ways of merchandise and money 
changing, and finally developed in them those peculiar 
faculties and aptitudes for a calling which are brought out 
,as well in man by the special education of successive 
generations, as in the lower animals. The Jew merchant 
had this advantage, too, that whereas his Gentile competitor 
belonged to a consolidated nation, confined to certain 
geographical limits, speaking a certain tongue, the aid, 
sympathy and influence which he derived from social and 
political ties, were also confined to the limits of his nation. 
But the Jew merchant belonged to a scattered nation, spread 
out over the whole earth, speaking many tongues, and 
welded together, not by social ties alone, but by the fierce 
fires of suffering and persecution; and the aid, sympathy, 
influence and information which he derived therefrom 
came out of the utmost parts of the earth. 

When after many centuries the flames of persecution had 
abated so that the Jews were permitted more than bare life, 
their industry, energy and talent soon placed them among 
the important motive powers of the world. They entered 
the fields of commerce in its grandest and most colossal 
operations. They became the friends and counselors of 
kings, the prime-ministers of empires, the treasurers of 
republics, the mover of armies, the arbiters of public credit, 
the patrons of art, and the critics of literature. We do not 
forget the time in the near past when the peace of Europe 
of three worlds hung upon the Jewish Prime-Minister of 
England. No people are so ready to accommodate them 
selves to circumstances. It was but recently that we heard 



UFE OF VANCE. 391 

of an English Jew taking an absolute lease of the ancient 
Persian Empire. The single family of Rothschild, the 
progeny of a poor German Jew, who three generations ago 
sold curious old coins under the sign of a red shield, are 
now the possessors of greater wealth and power than was 
Solomon, when he could send 1,300,000 fighting men into 
the field ! 

Twenty years ago, when this family was in the height 
of its power, perhaps no sovereign in Europe could have 
waged a successful war against its united will. Two cen 
turies since the ancestors of these Jewish money-kings 
were skulking in the caverns of the earth or hiding in the 
squalid outskirts of persecuting cities. Nor let it be sup 
posed that it is in this field alone we see the great effects of 
Jewish intellect and energy. The genius which showed 
itself capable of controlling the financial affairs of the 
world, necessarily carried with it other great powers and 
capabilities. The Jews in fact, under most adverse cir 
cumstances, made their mark a high and noble mark in 
every other department of human affairs. Christian clergy 
men have sat at the feet of their Rabbi s to be taught the 
mystic learning of the East ; Senates have been enwrapped 
by the eloquence of Jewish orators ; courts have been con 
vinced by the acumen and learning of Jewish lawyers ; vast 
throngs excited to the wildest enthusiasm by Jewish histri 
onic and aesthetic art ; Jewish science has helped to number 
the stars in their courses, to loose the bands of Orion and 
to guide Arcturns with his sons. 

Jewish literature has delighted and instructed all classes 
of mankind, and the world has listened with rapture and 
with tears to Jewish melody and song. For never since its 
spirit was evoked under the shadow of the vines on the 
hills of Palestine to soothe the melancholy of her King, 
has Judah s harp, whether in freedom or captivity, in sorrow 
or joy, ceased to wake the witchery of its tuneful strings. 

Time forbids that I should even name the greatest of 



392 LIFE OF VANCE. 

those who have distinguished themselves and made good 
their claim to rank with the foremost of earth. No section 
of the human family can boast a greater list of men and 
women entitled to be placed among the true children of 
genius going to make up the primacy of our race in 
every branch of human affairs, in every phase of human 
civilization. Mr. Draper says that for four hundred years 
of the middle ages ages more dark and terrible to them 
than to any others, they took the most philosophical and 
comprehensive view of things of all European people. 

On the whole, and after due deliberation, I think it may 
be truthfully said, that there is more of average wealth, 
intelligence, and morality among the Jewish people than 
there is among any other nation of equal numbers in the 
world ! If this be true if it be half true when we con 
sider the circumstances under which it has all been brought 
about, it constitutes in the eyes of thinking men the most 
remarkable moral phenomenon ever exhibited by any 
portion of the human family. For not only has the world 
given the Jew no help, but all that he is, he has made 
himself in spite of the world in spite of its bitter cruelty, 
its scorn and unspeakable tyranny. The most he has ever 
asked, certainly the most he has ever received, and that but 
rarely, was to be left alone. To escape the sword, the rack, 
the fire, and utter spoiling of his goods, has indeed, for 
centuries, been to him a blessed heritage, as the shadow of 
a great rock in a weary land. 

The physical persecution of the Jews has measurably 
ceased among all nations of the highest civilization. There 
is no longer any proscription left upon their political rights 
in any land where the English tongue is spoken. I am 
proud of the fact. But there remains among us an unrea 
sonable prejudice of which I am heartily ashamed. Our 
toleration will not be complete until we put it away also, 
as well as the old implements of physical torture. 

This age, and these United States in particular, so boastful 



LIFE OF VANCE. 393 

of toleration, presents some curious evidences of the fact 
that the old spirit is not dead; evidences tending much to 
show that the prejudices of 2000 years ago are still with us. 
In Germany, a land more than all others indebted to the 
genius and loyal energy of the Jews, a vast uprising against 
them was lately excited, for the sole reason, so far as one 
can judge, that they occupy too many places of learning and 
honor, and are becoming too rich ! 

In this, our own free and tolerant land, where wars have 
been waged and constitutions violated for the benefit of the 
African negro, the descendants of barbarian tribes who for 
4000 years have contributed nothing to, though in close 
contact with the civilization of mankind, save as the Helots 
contributed an example to the Spartan youth, and where 
laws and partisan courts alike have been used to force him 
into an equality with those whom he could not equal, we 
have seen Jews, educated and respectable men, descendants 
of those from whom we derive our civilization, kinsmen, 
after the flesh, of Him whom we esteem as the Son of God 
and Savior of men, ignominously ejected from hotels and 
watering places as unworthy the association of men who 
had grown rich by the sale of a new brand of soap or an 
improved patent rat-trap ! 

I have never heard of one of these indecent thrusts at the 
Jews without thinking of the dying words of Sargeant 
Bothwell when he saw his life s current dripping from the 
sword of Burley: "Base peasant churl, thou hast spilt the 
blood of a line of Kings." 

Let us learn to judge the Jew as we judge other men 
by his merits. And above all, let us cease the abominable 
injustice of holding the class responsible for the sins of the 
individual. We apply this test to no other people. 

Our principal excuse for disliking him now is that we 
have injured him. The true gentleman, Jew or Gentile, 
will always recognize the. true gentleman, Jew or Gentile, 



394 LIF]e OF VANCE. 

and will refuse to consort with an ill-bred imposter, Jew or 
Gentile, simply becanse he is an ill-bred imposter. 

The impudence of the low-bred Jew is not one whit more 
detestable than the impudence of the low-bred Gentile, 
children of shoddy, who by countless thousands swarm into 
doors opened for them by our democracy. Let us cry quits 
on that score. Let us judge each other by our best not our 
worst samples, and when we find gold let us recognize it. 
Let us prove all things and hold fast that which is good. 

Whilst it is a matter of just pride to us that there is 
neither physical persecution nor legal proscription left upon 
the civil rights of the Jews in any land where the English 
tongue is spoken or the English law obtains, yet I consider 
it a grave reproach not only to us, but to all Christendom 
that such injustice is permitted anywhere. The recent 
barbarities inflicted upon them in Russia revive the recol 
lection of the darkest cruelties of the middle ages. That is 
one crying outrage, one damned spot that blackens the fair 
light of the nineteenth century, without the semblance of 
excuse or the shadow of justification. That glare of burn 
ing homes, those shrieks of outraged .women, those wailings 
of orphaned children go up to God, not only as witnesses 
against the wretched savages who perpetrate them, but as 
accusations also of those who permit them. How sad it is 
again to hear that old cry of Jewish sorrow, which we had 
hoped to hear no more forever ! How shameful it is to 
know that within the shadow of so-called Christian 
Churches, there are yet dark places filled with the habitations 
of cruelty. No considerations of diplomacy or international 
courtesy should for one moment stand in the way of their 
stern and instant suppression. 

The Jews are our spiritual fathers, the authors of our 
morals, the founders of our civilization with all the power 
and dominion arising therefrom, and the great peoples 
professing Christianity and imbued with any of its noble 
spirit, should see to it that justice and protection are afforded 



UFE OF VANCE. 395 

them. By simply speaking with one voice it could be done, 
for no power on earth could resist that voice. Every con 
sideration of humanity and international policy demands 
it. Their unspeakable misfortunes, their inherited woes, 
their very helplessness appeal to our Christian chivalry, 
trumpet-tongued in behalf of those wretched victims of a 
prejudice for which tolerant Christianity is not altogether 
irresponsible. 

There are objections to the Jew as a citizen; many ob 
jections; some true and some false, some serious and some 
trivial. It is said that industrially he produces nothing, 
invents nothing, adds nothing to the public wealth ; that 
he will not own real estate, nor take upon himself those 
permanent ties which beget patriotism and become the 
hostages of good citizenship ; that he merely sojourns in 
the land and does not dwell in it, but is ever in light 
inarching order and is ready to flit when the word comes 
to go. These are true objections in the main, and serious 
ones, but I submit the fault is not his, even here. 

" Quoth, old Mazeppa, ill-betide 
The school wherein I learned to ride." 

These habits he learned by persecution. He dwelt 
everywhere in fear and trembling, and had no assurance of 
his life. He was ever ready to leave because at any mo 
ment he might be compelled to choose between leaving 
and death. He built no house, because at any moment he 
and his little ones might be thrust out of it to perish. He 
cherished no love for the land because it cherished none 
for him, but w r as cruel and hard and bitter to him. And 
yet history shows that in every land where he has been 
protected he has been a faithful and zealous patriot. Also 
since his rights have been secured he has begun to show 
the same permanent attachments to the soil as other peo 
ple, and is rapidly building houses and in some places 
cultivating farms. These objections he is rapidly remov 
ing since we have removed their cause. 



396 LIFE OF VANCE. 

So, too, the impression is sought to be made that he is 
dishonest in his dealings with the Gentiles, insincere in his 
professions, servile to his superiors and tyrannical to his 
inferiors, oriental in his habit and manner. That the Jew 
meaning the class is dishonest, I believe to be an atrocious 
calumny ; and, considering that we derive all of our notions 
of rectitude from the Jew, who first taught the world that 
command, "Thou shalt.not steal," and "Thou shalt not 
bear false witness," we pay ourselves a shabby compliment 
in thus befouling our teachers. Undoubtedly there are 
Jewish scoundrels in great abundance ; undoubtedly also 
there are Gentile scoundrels in greater abundance. South 
ern reconstruction put that fact beyond a peradventure. 
But our own scoundrels are orthodox, Jewish scoundrels 
are unbelievers that is the difference. If a man robs me 
I should thank him that he denies my creed too ; he com 
pliments both me and it by the denial. 

The popular habit is to regard an injury done to one 
by a man of different creed as a double wrong ; to me it 
seems that the wrong is the greater coming from my own. 
To hold also, as some do, that the sins of all people are 
due to their creeds, would leave the sins of the sinners of 
my creed quite unaccounted for. With some the faith of 
a scoundrel is all important ; it is not so with me. 

All manner of crimes, including perjury, cheating and 
over-reaching in trade, are unhesitatingly attributed to the 
Jews, generally by their rivals in trade. Yet somehow 
they are rarely proven to the satisfaction of even Gentile 
judges and juries. The gallows clutches but few, nor are 
they found in the jails and penitentiaries a species of real 
estate which I honor them for not investing in. I admit 
that there was and is perhaps now a remnant of the feel 
ing that it was legal to spoil the Egyptians. Their con 
stant life of persecution would naturally inspire this 
feeling; their present life of toleration and their business 
estimate of the value of character will as naturallv remove 



LIFE OF VANCE. 397 

it. Again and again, day by day, we evince our Gentile 
superiority in the tricks of trade and sharp practice. It is 
asserted by our proverbial exclamation in regard to a par 
ticular piece of villainy, " That beats the Jews ! " And I 
call your attention to the further fact that, sharp as they 
undoubtedly are, they have found it impossible to make 
a living in New England. Outside of Boston, not fifty 
perhaps can be found in all that land of unsuspecting 
integrity and modest righteousness. They have managed 
to endure with long-suffering patience the knout of the 
Czar and the bow-string of the Turk, but they have fled 
for life from the presence of the wooden nutmegs and the 
left-handed gimlets of Jonathan. Is there any man who 
hears me to-night who, if a Yankee and a Jew were to 
" lock horns " in a regular encounter of commercial wits, 
would not give large odds on the Yankee? My own 
opinion is that the genuine " guessing " Yankee, with a 
jack-knife and a pine shingle could in two hours time 
whittle the smartest Jew in New York out of his home 
stead in the Abrahamic covenant. 

I agree with Lord Macauley that the Jew is what we 
have made him. If he is a bad job, in all honesty we 
should contemplate him as the handiwork of our own 
civilization. If there be indeed guile upon his lips or ser 
vility in his manner, we should remember that such are 
the legitimate fruits of oppression and wrong, and that 
they have been, since the pride of Judah was broken and 
his strength scattered, his only means of turning aside the 
uplifted sword and the poised javelin of him who sought 
to plunder and slay. Indeed so long has he schemed and 
shifted to. avoid injustice and cruelty, that we can perceive 
in him all the restless watchfulness which characterizes the 
hunted animal. 

To this day the cast of the Jew s features in repose is 
habitually grave and sad as though the very plough-share 
of sorrow had marked its furrows across their faces forever. 



398 LIFE OF VANCE. 

" And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet ! 

And when shall Zion s songs again seem sweet, 

And Judah s melody once more rejoice 

The hearts that leaped before its heavenly voice ? 

Tribes of the wandering foot and weary heart 

How shall ye flee away and be at rest ? 

The wild dove hath her nest the fox his cave 

Mankind their country Israel but the grave." 

The hardness of Christian prejudice having dissolved, so 
will that of the Jew. The hammer of persecution having 
ceased to beat upon the iron mass of their stubbornness, it 
will cease to consolidate and harden, and the main strength 
of their exclusion and preservation will have been lost. 
They will perhaps learn that one sentence of our L,ord s 
prayer, which it is said is not to be found in the Talmud, 
and which is the key-note of the difference between Jew 
and Gentile, "Forgive us our trespasses as ?c e forgive them 
who trespass against us." 

If so, they will become as other men, and taking their 
harps down from the willows, no longer refuse to sing the 
songs of Zion because they are captives in a strange land. 

I believe that there is a morning to open yet for the Jews 
in Heaven s good time, and if that opening shall be in any 
way commensurate with the darkness of the night through 
which they have passed, it will be the brightest that ever 
dawned upon a faithful people. 

I have stood on the summit of the very monarch of our 
great Southern Alleghanies and seen the night flee away 
before the chariot wheels of the God of day. The stars 
receded before the pillars of lambent fire that pierced the 
zenith, a thousand ragged mountain peaks began to peer up. 
from the abysmal darkness, each looking through the 
vapory seas that filled the gorges like an island whose 
"jutting and confounded base was swilled by the wild and 
wasteful ocean." As the curtain was lifted more and more 
and the eastern brightness grew in radiance and in glory, 
animate nature prepared to receive her Lord; the tiny 



LIFE OF VANCE. 399 

snow-bird from its nest in the turf began chirping to its 
young ; the silver pheasant sounded its morning drum-beat 
for its mate in the boughs of the fragrant fir; the dun deer 
rising slowly from his mossy couch and stretching himself 
in graceful curves, began to crop the tender herbage; 
whilst the lordly eagle rising straight upward from his 
home on the crag, with pinions wide spread, bared his 
golden breast to the yellow beams and screamed his wel 
come to the sun in his coming ! Soon the vapors of the 
night are lifted up on shafts of fire, rolling and scathing in 
billows of refulgent flame, until when far overhead, they 
are caught upon the wings of the morning breeze and swept 
away, perfect day was established and there was peace. So 
may it be with this long-suffering and immortal people. 
So may the real spirit of Christ yet be so triumphantly in 
fused amongst those who profess to obey his teachings, that 
with one voice and one hand they will stay the persecutions 
and hush the sorrows of these their wondrous kinsmen, put 
them forward into the places of honor and the homes of 
love where all the lands in which they dwell, shall be to 
them as was Jerusalem to their fathers. So may the morn 
ing come, not to them alone, but to all the children of men 
who, through much tribulation -and with heroic manhood 
have waited for its dawning, with a faith whose constant 
cry through all the dreary watches of the night has been, 
"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him !" 

"Roll golden sun, roll swiftly toward the west, 
Dawn happy day when many woes shall cease; 

Come quickly Lord, thy people wait the rest 
Of thine abiding peace! 

No more, no more to hunger here for love; 

No more to thirst for blessings long denied. 
Judah! Thy face is foul with weeping, but above 

Thou shalt be satisfied!" 



400 LIFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

ADDRESS THE DUTIES OF DEFEAT. 

Duties of Defeat Extracts from Address at State University Soon 
After the War Loyalty and Devotion to Liberty and the Consti 
tution Enjoined Adjustment to Existing Conditions Great Op 
portunities for Wisdom and Statesmanship The Orphan Son of a 
Dead Soldier Tempted into Crime The Lesson Exhortation to 
Manliness, and Love of Country The Effort to Restore Prosperity 
and Build Up Waste Places. 



following are extracts from an address delivered 
11 by Hon. Z. B. Vance before the Literary Society of 
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, June 
;th, 1866: 

We stand to-day amidst the stranded fragments and 
floating timbers of the great civil war in history. Astounded 
at the mighty results we are as yet unable to comprehend 
them. Indeed the profound significance of their full phil 
osophical import can scarcely be gathered by this genera 
tion. For we are not yet -at the end of the revolution as is 
popularly supposed, but are only, as we trust, at the end of 
armed violence. * * * Perhaps in modern annals 

there will scarcely be found a parallel to the complete ruin 
and impoverishment of the people of the Southern States. 
Upon our own beloved State a full share of these 
common calamities has fallen. Nor does it relieve them 
of their crushing weight to remember the deep hostility of 
her people to the policy which inaugurated them. Quiet, 
conservative, law abiding as her people have ever been 
though jealous of their rights and honor, arid ready at any 
moment to perish for them yet slow to violate compacts, 
they have never ceased to prefer exhausting all civil reme 
dies for the redress of public grievances, rather than evoke 



LIFE OF VANCE. 401 

the terrible and uncertain arbitrament of revolution. Steady 
in the exercise of this resolution, she was forced, the very 
last, into a conflict which she was the very first in main 
taining. The sufferings of our people have indeed been 
fearfully commensurate with their honesty and their courage. 
With her homesteads burned to ashes; with fields desolated; 
with thousands of her noblest and bravest children sleeping 
in beds of slaughter; innumerable orphans, widows and 
helpless persons reduced to beggary and deprived of their 
natural protectors; her corporations bankrupt and her own 
credit gone; her public charities overthrown, her educa 
tional fund utterly lost; her land filled from end to end with 
her maimed and mutilated soldiers; denied all representa 
tion in the public councils; her heart-broken and wretched 
people are not only oppressed with the weight of their own 
indebtedness, but are crushed into the very dust by taxation 
for the mighty debt incurred as the cost of their own sub 
jugation! The very race of beasts of burden, by which alone 
we could extract bread from the half-tilled earth, \vas, at the 
close of hostilities, almost destroyed, leaving us destitute of 
even the means of labor! Such a picture of suffering 
would seem sufficient to sate a generous enemy, and should 
move the deepest depths in the bosoms of her loving sons. 
* * * There was indeed a cry and lament through all 
her borders. From her Alpine heights to her tidal sands, 
from her plains and valleys and all her habitation, the wail 
went up. The dismal cypress garlanded with funeral 
moss became fit emblems of her woe; and her sombre pines 
moaning in the breeze sang requiems solemn as for the 
dead. And though nature was still kindly and invited us 
to forget our sorrow; though the sun still warmed and cher 
ished the earth; though the early and the latter rains still 
descended according to the promise, clothing the fields with 
verdure and causing the tender herb to put forth; and 
though the mocking bird sweetest of our warblers em 
bowered within the shadows of his leafy home, poured forth 

27 



42 LIFE OF VANCE. 

his glorious song, "every note that we heard awaking," 
yet no joyous response stirred our bosoms. It seemed in 
deed that despair had claimed us for her own. We felt 
that it was demanded of us to sing a song in a strange land, 
and we could but hang our harp upon the willows of our 
own native rivers, famous now with the rich memories of 
our children s blood, and weep when we remembered the 
pleasant places from which we had fallen. It was in truth 
a prospect to appall the stoutest hearted; and many of our 
aged and infirm, who had bravely borne all the sufferings 
of a four years war, have sunk down like the oak, which 
having withstood the storm, yet falls in the ensuing calm 
and died, "rejoicing exceedingly and being glad that they 
could find the grave." 

Such are the changes through which we have passed 
and are passing, such is the condition, physical and social, 
of your country at the moment when you are to enter 
upon the earnest duties of life. You will probably agree 
with me in thinking that the time is an important one 
and that the duties before young men of education and 
patriotism differ widely from, and far exceed in mighty 
responsibility, those which have devolved on any of your 
predecessors. 

It will not be improper to glance at some of the peculiar 
fields where your energies as well as your kindly charities 
may be most benefically expended. The task of uplifting 
and regenerating our fallen country indeed belongs to 
us all ; but it will devolve more especially upon you. 
Neither spent nor broken down by the fierce conflicts and 
deadly disappointments of the past, your fresh spirits are 
not only endowed with the vigor necessary to successful 
action, but they can more easily bend to the Percustian bed 
of circumstances which is spread for the repose of the 
conquered people wherein lies, now and at all times, the 
true secret of statesmanship. The work is not nearly so 
hopeless as it would seem at first, and it is noble and glori- 



LIKE OF VANCE. 403 

ous beyond anything that ever fired the ambition of youth. 
Though the destruction is so widespread and thorough it 
should be remembered that there is nothing which can 
exceed the recuperative powers of nature when aided by 
the industry of men. The gaping wounds in our country s 
bosom are to be healed, these enormous losses of our 
wealth are to be repaired, these wasted fields are to be 
restored to the glorious verdure of peaceful abundance; 
from the ashes of the homes which once sheltered us must 
arise the beams and rafters of homes still as beautiful and 
happy. The blackened chimneys must no longer stand, 
grim and solitary on the landscape, surrounded by rank 
and profitless weeds, the sorrowful milemarks of the sweep 
of desolation as it marched, devouring our substance, but 
must be made to send up again from mansion roofs, the 
cheering columns of smoke which once bespoke plenty 
and repose, and to glow again with winter s blaze of 
domestic peace and sacred hospitality. All the bloody 
foot-prints of ruthless war must be erased by the hand of 
intelligent industry. Looking despairingly at the condi 
tion of things, the country turns towards her young men 
and calls to them to lead the way in preaching and 
practicing hope. You are required above all things to 
teach our people to look up from the crumbling ashes and 
prostrate columns of their present ruin, to the majestic 
proportions and surpassing grandeur of that temple which 
may yet be built by the hand which labors, the mind 
which conceives, and the great soul which faints not. An 
officer leading his men into battle, himself going first and 
charging home upon the enemy, with the high and lofty 
daring of a hero, rallying his troops when they waver, 
cheering when they advance, applauding the brave and 
sustaining the faint-hearted bearing aloft the colors of his 
command and struggling with all the strength and spirit 
of manhood, resolving to conquer or to perish, is esteemed 
one of the noblest exhibitions of which man is capable. 



44 UFE OF VANCE. 

We thrill and burn as we read the glowing story and 
exhaust the language of praise in extolling his virtues. 
But not less glorious, not less worthy of the commendation 
of his countrymen is he who in an hour like this bravely 
submits to fate; and scorning alike the promptings of 
despair and the unmanly refuge of expatiation, rushes to 
the rescue of his perishing country, inspires his fellow- 
citizens with hope, cheers the disconsolate, arouses the 
sluggish, lifts up the helpless and the feeble, and by voice 
and example in every possible way, urges forward all the 
blessed and bloodless and crowning victories of peace. 
It is a noble thing to die for one s country; it is a higher 
and a nobler thing to live for it. 

The best test of the best heroism now is a cheerful and 
loyal submission to the powers and events established by 
our defeat and a ready obedience to the constitution and 
laws of our country. Being denied the immortal distinc 
tion of dying for your country, as did your fathers and your 
elder brothers, you may yet rival their glory by living for 
it if you will live wisely, earnestly and well. 

The greatest campaign for which soldiers ever buckled 
on armor is now before you. The drum beats and the 
bugle sounds, to arms, to repel invading poverty and desti 
tution, which have seized our strongholds and are waging 
war, cruel and relentless, upon our women and children. 
The teeming earth is blockaded by the terrible lassitude of 
exhaustion and we are required, through toil and tribula 
tion, to retake, as by storm, that prosperity and happiness 
which were once our own, and to plant our banners firmly 
upon their everlasting ramparts amid the plaudits of a 
redeemed and regenerated people. The noblest soldier 
now, is he that with ax and plough pitches his tent against 
the waste places of his fire-blasted home and swears that 
from its ruins there shall arise another like unto it, and 
that from its barren fields there shall come again the glad 
dening sheen of dew-gemmed meadows, in the rising and 



LIFE OF VANCE. 405 

the golden waves of ripening harvests, in the setting sun. 
This is a besieging of fate itself; a hand to hand struggle 
with the stern columns of calamity and despair. But the 
God of nature hath promised that it shall not fail when 
courage, faith and industry sustain the assailant ; and this 
victory won without one drop of human blood, unstained 
by a single tear, imparting and receiving blessings on every 
hand will be such as the wise and good of all the earth 
may applaud, and over which even the angels might unite 
in rejoicing. 

Now from the earth directly or indirectly comes all the 
wealth of man, whether it be in flocks upon the hills, in 
palaces within the city, or in ships upon the sea. In this 
prolific and never-failing source alone must be laid the 
foundations of our regeneration, and the plow is the great 
instrument with which it is to be effected the oldest born, 
the simplest and most beneficent of inventions, the father 
and the king of all the implements of man upon it de 
pends all of agriculture, of manufactures, of commerce and 
of civilization. Remembering this, it will be your first 
and last great duty, whether as legislators or private citi 
zens, to encourage, foster and protect labor upon the soil, 
being assured when it prospers that all other desirable 
things shall be added. * * * * 

It will be our duty now, in better ways and under hap 
pier auspices, still further to undeceive them (the Northern 
people) by the vigor and energy with which we shall clear 
away the wreck of our fallen fortunes, adapt ourselves to 
circumstances under changed institutions and new systems 
of labor, and the rapidity with which we shall travel in 
those ways which lead to the rebuilding and adorning a 
State. Nor will it admit of a doubt that the same courage, 
constancy and skill which led our slender battalions through 
so many pitched fields of glory, will, when directed into 
the peaceful channels of natural prosperity and quickened 
by the sharp lessons of adversity, be sufficient to place the 



406 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Southern States of the American Union side by side with 
the richest and mightiest. Deserving also of your earnest 
attention is that moral ruin scarcely less extensive than 
the physical which dogs the footsteps of revolution. No 
classes of our society have altogether escaped it, while in 
some its ravages have been fearful. The peculiar counter 
acting influences those of schools and schoolmasters the 
general poverty of the country has well nigh destroyed. 
The almost total loss of the very considerable fund set 
apart by the wisdom of your Legislators in happier times 
for the education of the poor children of the State, and the 
consequent abandonment of our system of common schools, 
are by no means to be second among the least of our many 
misfortunes. To the thousands of children whose parents 
were heretofore unable to educate them, are now added 
other thousands reduced to a worse condition by the results 
of the war. Their situation proves a subject of the most 
serious magnitude, and imposes additional obligations upon 
all who, like you, have been favored with the means and 
opportunity of education. But among all the sacred duties 
which will devolve on. you as citizens and patriots, there 
are some more sacred still than others; and one of these is the 
looking after and caring for the orphans of those who per 
ished in your defense and mine. Numbers of them are 
destitute not only of the means of education, but of subsis 
tence itself. Without friends or protection, they will wan 
der into ways of wickedness and ruin. It has already been 
my painful fortune to witness an instance of such an one 
brought into the courts of justice, charged with crimes com 
mitted under the influence of want and in the absence of a 
father s teachings. But that father was sleeping far away 
in a rude soldier s grave in the wilderness of the Chicka- 
hominy, and his orphan boy, without a parent, a protector 
or a friend in the world, lone and homeless, had wandered 
among strangers and been tempted into crime. I visited 
him in prison where, without a coat, without shoes or hat 



LIFE OF VANCE. 407 

and his few remaining garments, displaying his pale and 
delicate frame, he told me his simple and piteous story. 
His tender years and helpless condition appealed so strongly 
to the court that the penalties of the law were not inflicted 
upon him. * * * But my heart bled within me when 
I remembered he was only one of a thousand whose future 
was equally hard, and that he had thus lost home and father 
and honest \\itfor you, and for me. * * * The time 
is not far distant when, as citizens, I trust, you will be per 
mitted to take a part in the government of your country. 
The path of statesmanship for the past decade has been 
beset with peculiar difficulties ; nor is it likely that the sur 
roundings of the present period will prove less embarrassing 
to any public man honestly seeking his country s good. 
The lessons of experience would make us all wise, if they 
were not forgotten. In taking whatever position your tal 
ents or inclination may cause to be assigned you my most 
solemn injunction would be to burn into your memories 
forever the teachings of the terrible experience of the past 
five years. The great problem we have just worked out is 
full of mighty meaning, its theories is demonstrated in char 
acters of " fraternal blood" and all its corallaries teem with 
changes of power and the downfall of systems. Let it ever 
be before your eyes, and learn of it. Among other wise 
things, that the yielding to blind passions and personal re 
sentments, when the happiness of thousands is entrusted to 
your judgment, is a crime for which God will hold you ac 
countable. The subjection of every passion and prejudice 
in the breast to the cooler sway of judgment and reason, 
when the common welfare is concerned, is the first victory 
to be won in a political career. Without it you can win no 
other in which your country can rejoice. * * * Such 
is now the actual state of things, unfortunate as we may 
regard it, and contrary as it may seem to all our ideas of 
the true purposes of government. But it is our country 
still, and if it cannot be governed as we wish it, it must be 



408 LIFE 6F VANCE. 

governed in some other way ; and it is still our duty to 
labor for its prosperity and glory with ardor and sincerity, 
I earnestly urge upon you the strictest conformity of your 
conduct to the situation ; to what the government actually 
is, not what you think it ought to be. It is our bounden 
duty as honest men, to give our new formed institutions a 
a full and fair trial, especially the new system of labor, and 
if they prove better than the old, let us forget our sufferings 
and be thankful. * * Our great country of the 

South with its fertile, happy climate and boundless re 
sources excites the highest admiration of the Northern 
people. The rigorous scope and conservative tendency of 
our statesmanship they have never failed to respect and have 
even acknowledged that it has controlled to a great degree 
the policy of the government in and from its organization, 
thereby giving us credit for much of its power and glory. 
* * * They cannot deny that the world renowned Dec 
laration of Independence of July, 1776, was from the brain 
of a Southern statesman ; and that it was the genius of a 
Southern general who in making good its bold assumptions, 
rendered himself the most illustrious of mankind. Nor 
yet can they forget that in two foreign wars the most signal 
glory shed upon our country s arms was by the skill and 
valor of Southern commanders, followed by Southern volun 
teers. And certainly they cannot overlook even now, that 
friend of military genius, intrepid gallantry, heroic con 
stancy under misfortune and all the traits which mark a 
noble people, that we have so lately exhibited. I would as 
soon believe there was no room for such things in the 
breasts of men as truth and honor, as that every soldier in 
the Army of the Potomac from its general to the humblest 
private that followed its banners, did not, in his heart, re 
spect and honor the lofty courage, consummate skill and 
patient constancy of that other army, which though vastly 
inferior in numbers and appointments yet kept it four years 
on the short but bloody journey from the Potomac to the 



LIFE OF VANCE. 409 

James, and piled every inch of its pathway with ghastly 
monuments of the slain. 

Let not the sneer of the supercilion nor the taunt of the 
ungenerous over cur final defeat, deceive us in this matter 
or cause us to abut one jot of our just claims to the high 
place in history which posterity will award us. That which 
so moved upon the sympathy and admiration of the world 
has already excited and will yet more excite that of our 
Northern friends. And in due time, if we faint not, we 
shall reap those fruits which the generous and the better 
feelings of men never fail to bear. Years hence when, as 
I trust, time and a juster policy shall have healed many an 
ugly wound and quieted many an aching heart, the story 
of the great civil war will be read around a thousand fire 
sides among the homes of the North, and as the glowing 
recital burns upon the ear, how that one-fourth of the peo 
ple of the United States, without manufactures, and almost 
without arms; without ships, arsenals or foundaries, shut 
out from all the world by a sealed blockade, for four long 
and terrible years fought back and kept at bay the other 
three-fourths, who were aided by manumitted slaves; who had 
great navies, their own and the workshop of the world at 
their control and whose slaughtered armies were filled up 
again and again from the swarming populations of Europe; 
and how the ragged battalions of the South, under L,ee, 
and Jackson, and Johnston, and Hoke, and Fender, and 
Early, struggled with the great armies of McClellan, and 
Grant, and Sherman, and Sheridan, and Bruce, until the 
world was full of their fame; a thousand fathers burning 
with the unconfessed pride of country and of race, will 
say to their sons who wonder how these things could have 
been: "These were the countrymen of Washington and 
Jackson. These were Americans none but American citi 
zens could have done these things." * * * May this 
honored and revering University speedily and from time to 
time, open again its gates ancl send forth to the work of 



410 LIFE OF VANCE. 

the regeneration of their country as many high souled and 
generous, brave and enthusiastic youths as rushed through 
its portals to untimely graves during the years of our trib 
ulation. I could not endure to live but for the comforting 
hope that compensating years of peace and happiness are 
yet in store for those who have struggled so manfully and 
endured so nobly. Having gone down into the very low 
est depths of the fiery furnace of affliction seven times 
heated by the cruel malice of civil war, I believe there will 
yet appear walking with and comforting our mourning 
people, One whose form is like unto that of the Son of 
God. 



LIFE OF VANCE. 411 



CHAPTER XXII. 

SPEECH ON THE BLAIR 



Extracts from Debates on the Blair Educational Bill in United States 
Senate Sharp Replies to Hoar, Ingalls and Others Reasons Why 
the North Should Help the South to Educate the Negro They 
Sold Him and Got Pay for Him, Then Set Him Free and Made 
Him a Voter Without Proper Qualification The South Doing Its 
Full Duty. 

DT was not my intention, Mr. President, originally to have 
said a word on this bill. There was no particular call 
for it from the State which I represent, and it was looked 
upon as a voluntary offer upon the part of the people of the 
North to do something towards the education of the people 
upon whom they had conferred suddenly the rights of 
suffrage and citizenship, but the strange course of the debate 
has induced me, having made up my mind to support the 
bill, to say a few words by way of giving my reasons for that 
action. There are many things that can not be denied in 
connection with the matter. It is true that the people of 
the North set free the colored people in the South. It is 
true that they not only freed them without any preparation 
for their new state, but that they conferred upon them the 
highest rights of an American citizen. It is true that they 
enforced these rights by constitutional amendments and 
various penal acts passed in pursuance thereof, and when 
constitutional amendments and penal acts were not of 
sufficient avail, they forced the colored people into positions 
of equality, if not superiority of the white people of the 
South by the use of the bayonet. When these things were 
conferred upon the colored people in the South, our friends 
who did it knew very well what it meant a dilution of or 
an infusion into the right of suffrage of a vast amount of 



412 LIFE OF VANCE. 

ignorance and vice, of a vast community of people of a 
different race from those among whom they lived, inferior 
and absolutely unfitted for the duties which were imposed 
upon them ; they knew that that meant also a surrender of 
several of the States of the South to the absolute control of 
this colored majority, and they knew that it meant also not 
only their surrender, but it meant the actual endangering of 
all of the institutions which the white people of the South 
had built up, even of their civil liberties. 

Suffering for twenty years or nearly so all the inconven 
iences attending this state of things in the South we were 
told to be patient ; that the great panecea for all the evils of 
misgovernment in every country was education ; that upon 
the virtue and intelligence of the people depended our 
liberties, and the perpetuity of our several institutions. But 
why were we told that, and exhorted to patience ? It was 
known to our friends on the other side likewise that we were 
unable to impart that education to these people; that in the 
struggle that set them free, and in the subsequent era of 
carpet-bagism and robbing, we were so impoverished and so 
ruined financially that we were absolutely unable to have 
taxes raised to impart the blessings of education to these 
people; that was also well known. Now what are we to do? 
We did the best that we could under the circumstances. I 
speak particularly of North Carolina, and I believe that her 
case is a fair representation of all of the Southern States. 
We reorganized our systems of public schools, and we 
replaced as far as we could all of the invested funds upon 
which they had been supported, and we levied as much tax 
as we could possibly bear for the purpose of affording the 
means of education, but they were and are, still lamentably 
insufficient. It may redown somewhat to the credit of my 
State, as little as we have done in the way of education, to 
say that the annual taxes there for the support of public 
schools, in which the colored people equally participate, is 
$25,000 per annum more than the whole taxation levied for 



UFE OF VANCE. 413 

the support of the State government. If any other States 
exceed that, they are doing better than we are. In fact, as 
I am told, some States in the South are doing more, and are 
levying double the amount of taxes for school purposes that 
is levied for the general expenses of the State government. 
At the same time we were thus suffering under the 
evils of poverty and inflicted by the infusion of ignorance 
and vice into the suffrage, and into the management of 
our affairs, we were held by the people of the North to 
the same rigid account for our public conduct as was 
exacted from the most highly educated Commonwealth on 
the American continent; from the best established Com 
monwealth, and whose institutions for one hundred years 
have not been disturbed, much less threatened by any 
social or political revolution; and upon the slightest 
provocation you investigated us, and continue to investi 
gate us, notwithstanding you say that the evils under 
which we suffered, and all evils in government, originated 
for the want of sufficient education of the masses. After 
this state of things had endured for nearly twenty years, 
at least a portion of the people of the North through their 
Representatives in Congress awoke to their duty. One 
Honorable Senator in this body at least bethought him of 
a panacea, and he brings in this bill to distribute $15,000,- 
ooo the first year, $14,000,000 the second year, and so on 
decreasing $1,000,000 annually for ten years, among the 
States of the Union in proportion to illiteracy, for the 
purpose of remedying the great evils under which the 
people of the South have suffered. What does this bill 
purpose to do? It purposes, so far as I have been able to 
examine, nothing in the world conflicting with the rights 
or sovereignty of the States as I understand it. It gives 
aid to their schools for ten years. The fund is to be 
expended altogether under State control in aid of systems 
of education already established by the States, and so far 
as I have been able to investigate the taxes of the several 



414 LIFE OF VANCE. 

Southern States, it will not cost one dollar increase in 
taxation in order to bring these States within the right of 
the benefits of this act. I know that it would not in my 
State cost a dollar of increase. 

What are the objections to the bill and where do they 
come from ? It was natural to suppose that from the strict 
construction side of the chamber there would be some ob 
jection to the bill in regard to its constitutionality, but I 
was not prepared to see that question raised by gentlemen 
from the other side of the chamber ; and I especially was 
not prepared to see it raised by those who ask for money 
for every conceivable subject on this floor. I was not pre 
pared to see it raised by those who ask for money to enable 
the government of the United States to go into a Territory 
and doctor a sick cow. I did not expect that. I have as 
much sympathy for the suffering cattle uf Kansas as any 
man on this floor. I have heard of the disease that infects 
that indispensable animal so necessary to our rotundity and 
strength. I had heard of the agonies they suffer, from the 
tender fledgeling of a calf to the great bovine mammoth 
that bellows upon the grassy plain, until I had wished to 
exclaim : Oh, that my head were as waters, and mine eyes 
were a fountain of tears, that I might weep for the afflic 
tions of a Kansas calf. 

It may be owing to my imperfect legal education or to 
the obtuseness of my faculties, but I cannot see the differ 
ence between educating a child and doctoring a steer. It 
seems that while the proper solution of the problem of the 
relation of virtue and intelligence to the maintenance and 
perpetuity of free institutions is a simple one and may be 
safely and properly left to the States, yet, that diagnosis of 
an ailing calf rises at once into national dignity and towers 
over the educational question like Jumbo over a narrow 
gauge mule, or a cedar- of Lebanon over a chinquapin bush. 
I confess to my inability to see this want of distinction. 

Our friends in the valley of the Mississippi object to it, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 415 

many of them. It is lawful, they say, to give money to the 
Mississippi Valley on any and every occasion and pre 
text. The Mississippi must have money when its waters 
are too low. It must have money when its waters are too 
high. They must have money not only to scour out the 
channel, but to build levees along the banks to keep the 
plantations from overflowing. It is a lawful stream ; it must 
always have money. But while you must protect the farm 
er s cotton plantation along the bank of the Mississippi, it 
would make the bones of Thomas Jefferson and Chief Jus 
tice Marshall turn over in their graves if there is any 
proposition to educate the child who lives in the swamp 
that is to be reclaimed, in order to fit him for citizenship. 
It is lawful, some say, to build a railroad across the Isthmus 
of Panama, in a foreign country, but it is not lawful, it is 
absolutely and utterly unconstitutional, to appropriate 
money to fit men for citizenship. 

I admit that the present circumstances are abnormal and 
exceptional. I admit that there is no special provision in 
the constitution or one perhaps looking directly towards it 
for public education. But the men who formed that con 
stitution had no idea that there would be the great civil 
war that occurred. They had no idea that 5,000,000 of 
slaves would be liberated by that war, and still less had 
they any idea that the 5,000,000 slaves would be forced by 
penal laws, constitutional amendments or by armies and 
navies or what not, into absolute equality of citizenship 
with the white race who discovered this country, cut down 
its forests, drove its aboriginal inhabitants away, and made 
the wilderness to blossom like the rose. They had no idea 
that their institutions and the work of their hand would 
ever be committed to ignorant and unlettered Africans for 
protection and preservation. If they had, I can not doubt 
from the wisdom which they exhibited in all they did, 
they would have inserted counter provisions in the consti 
tution providing against such a calamity. I can not doubt 



41 6 LIFE OF VANCK. 

it. They say that this money ought to be divided accord 
ing to population and not according to illiteracy. That 
would be one way of dividing it. If you call it a gift, a 
charity, certainly it should be bestowed upon those who 
most need it. If you call it an educational fund, it should 
certainly be distributed in proportion to the number of 
those to be educated. It is not the literate but the illiter 
ate who are to be educated. So it seems to me there is no 
other just way to divide it. Would you have it distrib 
uted to the professors of the colleges of the country? Would 
you have it distributed to the members of Congress? Surely 
you would distribute it, if it is for the purpose of educat 
ing, to those who most need it, and who are to be educated. 
It seems to me that is the proper way of dividing it, and 
no other. You cannot divide it according to taxes, and if 
you distribute it according to population you will defeat 
the whole object of the bill. They say that the bill gives 
too much money. Several Senators have said that. It 
comes with a bad grace, it seems to me, when those who 
have already received largely of the benefits of public edu 
cation, or education paid for by the government of the 
United States, to come in and make the objection that it 
costs too much money. By looking at the reports of the 
commissioner of public land grants to the various States 
for the purpose of education as collated in the American 
Almanac of Mr. Sparford of 1879, I find that the States of 
the Northwest have received 70,213,534 acres, which, at 
$1.25 per acre, the government price, makes $87,765,667, 
while the States of the South have only received for simi 
lar purposes 6,434,446 acres worth $8,043,000. So the 
people of the North have received $80,000,000 in property 
which is the same as money for the purpose of educating 
their children more than the people of the South. I am 
informed by those who have made the calculation that the 
share which would go to the Southern States under this 
bill in the ten years to come will be about $55,000,000, 



LIFE OF VANCE. 417 

and that will still fall short $27,000,000 of bringing these 
States up to an equality to the Northwestern States in the 
matter of education at public expense, and yet we are told 
that the bill gives too much money, and the Senator from 
Ohio, Mr. Sherman, says the South can not be trusted with 
it. You may as well refuse to pay a man what you owe 
him because you can not trust him with the money: An 
other Senator objects because he says the people ought to 
learn to depend upon themselves. This is a doctrine I 
like to hear advanced, but I do not think it ought to come 
from that side of the chamber, having received all the pub 
lic lands that was sufficient to enable them to locate a basis 
of their school systems, and make a fund for permanent 
education in their States, that they state to the rest of us 
that we should learn to help ourselves; that it will not do 
to depend on the government. 

Mr. President, we will help ourselves if you will take 
your hands off of us. If you let us alone we will agree to 
help ourselves. If you will quit taxing us to support your 
factories in the North we will agree to help ourselves. If 
you will quit taking public lands to build railroads in the 
country we will help ourselves. If you will doctor your 
own sick cows and calves we will help ourselves. It comes 
with a very bad grace indeed from a portion of the country 
where all the fortunes that have been accumulated have 
been accumulated by making everybody help them by 
universal taxation of private funds ; to come here when 
there is a proposition to help the colored people, that they 
themselves forced into this position far above their capacity 
to occupy, and say to us, "well, you must help yourselves." 
If that is to be the doctrine all along, I am perfectly will 
ing ; I am more than willing to it. God knows all that I 
ask for the people of my section, and all that I ever expect 
to ask for the people of my section in this respect, is to be 
let alone. Do not tax us to build up your shoe factories. 
Do not tax us to build up your wool factories. , Do not 

28 



418 LIFE OF VANCE. 

tax us to build your iron factories. Do not tax us to 
build up every industrial scheme that you have got in the 
North by which you have been enabled to accumulate 
your wealth, and then turn around and say to us, when 
we ask for a little help, not for ourselves so much as for 
those whom you have thrust upon us, with the right of 
suffrage, "we will not give it to you, you must learn to 
depend upon yourselves." Mr. President I do not expect 
this bill to pass ; I have no idea that it will pass. I have 
likewise doubted, and I say it with proper senatorial 
courtesy, the professions of many gentlemen on the other 
side, when they were so interested about the improvement, 
moral and intellectual of the colored race of the South ; 
while they would send emissaries among them, and bind 
them together for political, party purposes, and pat them 
on the back, and run them forward in the name of 
freedom and advance them to the polls, I have always 
believed that when it came to doing something real for 
the benefit of that people that there would be flinching, 
and I am not disappointed at finding it. When the 
Senator from Ohio got up, and put his refusal to vote for 
the bill on the ground that he could not trust the people 
of the South to administer this money, I was prepared for 
his opposition to be put upon some ground, because I have 
no doubt that he considered the ignorant negro as a cause 
for bloody shirt, and a fruitful source of investigation, but 
an intelligent negro is an intelligent voter at the ballot 
box. He answers his purpose now, no doubt, far better 
than he would then. In reply to the charge, to the 
assumption rather, for it scarcely amounts to a charge, 
that the people of the South can not be entrusted to dis 
pose of the money properly, I appeal to the laws of all of 
the Southern States in relation to the education in com 
mon schools. In the State of North Carolina, as I have 
explained, there are more than one-half million dollars 
raised annually by taxation, to which is added funds 



LIFE OF VANCE. 419 

amounting annually to about $7,000,000 for distribution, 
and ninety-five per cent, of that taxation comes from the 
pockets of the white people, and the men who voted in the 
party opposite to the party in which the black people are. 
The report of the Superintendent of Public Schools, which 
I hold in my hand, shows that in full proportion to 
numbers the blacks have robbed the funds of that taxation 
by their political opposition, and as our laws in conformity 
with the constitution of the United States forbids any 
discrimination, there is no more likelihood that any of this 
money will be improperly appropriated, and that the 
whites will get the benefit of it instead of the blacks, than 
there is that any such political dishonesty will be com 
mitted in any other State or community in the Union. 
So far from there being a prejudice in North Carolina 
against the education of the black people, as the Senator 
from Arkansas (Mr. Garland) disclaimed as to his State, 
there is a positive desire for it. The intelligent tax payers 
of North Carolina desire, that if these men are to have 
the right of suffrage and citizenship, they shall be suffi 
ciently intelligent to exercise these rights properly and 
safely to the country. They desire that their workmen 
shall have sufficient tools. There is a prejudice there 
against the education of the two races in the same school 
house, and upon the same bench. The law provides that 
that shall not be done. There is not a prejudice, but a 
dislike there to being taxed so heavily in the midst of 
their poverty, when scarcely able to educate their own 
children, for the education of those who have been thrust 
in among them in the manner which I have described. 
It is grievous to the people of North Carolina to pay so 
heavy a tax for that purpose, but still they do it, and they 
impose it upon themselves. It is not the machinery of 
party that forces it upon them. The Legislature of that 
State had been Democratic and under the control of white 
men for years and years, and every year the taxes imposed 



420 LIFE OF VANCE. 

for public education have become higher and higher. So 
as the bill violates none of the laws of North Carolina, as 
it purposes to interfere with no part of the system of edu 
cation of North Carolina, but simply to aid it, and as it is 
to endure for an express time, and not for all time, I feel 
that it is my duty to vote for the bill, and I shall do so. 

Mr. President, the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Hoar) read a lecture the other day in which he stated that 
the old Commonwealth of Massachusetts still led the 
column in the matter of education. Now, let us see how 
far she leads the column. How far she actually leads it, 
and how far she ought to lead it. The value of property 
in Massachusetts in 1880 was $1,584,000,000, and her total 
taxes were $24,323,000, twenty per cent, of which is de 
voted to school purposes, and the rate of taxation on the 
$100 is $1.53. The total valuation of the property of North 
Carolina for the same year was $156,100,000, and the total 
taxes very nearly $2,000,000, eighteen per cent, of which is 
for schools, and the rate of taxation in that State is $1.22. 
So we see that while the wealth of Massachusetts is ten 
times greater than that of North Carolina, the amount of her 
taxes devoted to school purposes is only nine times greater 
than in North Carolina, and the per centage of her taxes 
which is devoted to education is only two per cent, greater 
than in North Carolina. Sir, I think that is doing pretty 
well for North Carolina, and when we come to consider the 
way in which that old Commonwealth got her wealth, I 
think that her Senators are as little entitled to taunt the 
South, on her poverty and illiteracy, as those who have 
received public land grants in aid of education. For it is 
known to everybody acquainted with the financial history 
of this country that the whole country has been taxed to 
support Massachusetts ever since the government was 
formed. North Carolina has considered her one of her 
chief paupers, and the sum annually paid in the consump 
tion of manufactured articles in North Carolina for the sup- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 421 

port of Massachusetts would render her taxes far ahead of 
the taxes of Massachusetts. In the conclusion of his speech 
the Senator from Massachusetts used an epithet towards 
the State of North Carolina. Shot it back at her as he 
took his seat, and he rolled it under his tongue, evidently 
as though he had been studying it up a long while. He 
spoke of North Carolina as the tail State. Now Mr. Presi 
dent, I wish to say 

Mr. Hoar The Senator misunderstood me. If he will 
look at the report of what I said he will see that he does 
not quote me correctly. 

Mr. Vance I have it before me, and I do not think I 
can be mistaken in it. The Senator from Massachusetts 
said : U I do not think that with these statistics coming by 
State authority to the United States government year by 
year that there will be Senators from North Carolina mak 
ing such speeches as we heard yesterday. That State will 
have something else to say if she is the tail State among 
the 38 of the American Commonwealths in the matter of 
her school children than what her Senator told us on this 
floor yesterday." I presume the Senator will stand by the 
record, will he not ? 

I was going to say that as a matter of course it was a 
subject of mortification to me as well as to the other South 
ern Senators to be constantly made aware of the fact that 
our vStates are at the tail end of illiteracy. But, sir, there 
is a deeper depth of mortification ; and I am much in the 
condition of a young man of whom I once heard who had 
the misfortune of being knocked down in a fight with a 
circus company. Though not much injured, he took to his 
bed as though it would break his heart, and in reply to 
those who endeavored to console him by telling him that 
any man was liable to be knocked down, that there was 
nothing in that. "Oh, yes," said he, "I know that; but, 
Lord ! Lord ! they knocked me down with the same stick 
they stirred the monkeys with." [Laughter.] 



422 LIFE OF VANCE. 

It is a source of mortification to me for any Senator to 
get up and appeal to the figures and say that my State is at 
the bottom in regard to illiteracy, but it adds a pang to the 
sharpness of that mortification, it adds another under-story 
to the depth of that humiliation, to be told so by the Sena 
tor from the Tewksbury State; a Senator from a State that 
has fattened on public taxation of this country ; a State 
that from the very beginning of the foundation of our gov 
ernment, rather of our struggle for independence, has 
sacrificed every principle and every profession that was in 
convenient for the purpose of gain, to taunt those with 
poverty who have been kept poor by the process of plun 
der! A State that is more responsible under heaven than 
any other community in this land for the introduction of 
slavery into this continent, with all the curses that have 
followed it ; that is the nursing mother of the horrors of 
the middle passage, and that, after slavery in Massachu 
setts was found not to pay, sold those slaves down South 
for a consideration, and then thanked God, and sang the 
long metre doxology through their noses, that they were 
not responsible any longer for the sin of human slavery, 
should at least be modest in applying epithets to her 
neighbors. 

If I may be permitted to disturb the dignified solemni 
ties of this body for one moment I will state what it re 
minds me of. I heard once of an old maid who got religion 
at a camp meeting. Immediately after she experienced 
the change she commenced exhorting the younger and 
prettier women in regard to wearing jewelry and gewgaws, 
and warned them against the pernicious consequence to 
piety of such \anities. "Oh! girls," she said, "I tell you, 
I used to wear ear rings and finger rings and laces and fur 
belows like you do, but I found that they were dragging 
my immortal soul down to hell, and I stripped them every 
one off and sold them to my younger sister Sally." [Laugh 
ter.] That s the way Massachusetts relieved herself from 



LIFK OF VANCE. 423 

slavery. That s the way she preserved her whiteness of soul. 
Now, there was no necessity for the remark of the Sen 
ator from Massachusetts. I had made no assault upon 
him. I was supporting the bill, as I supposed he was. 
He was supporting it in his peculiar way, and I was sup 
porting it in mine, and the remark, as you will see, is 
entirely illogical, inconsequential and disconnected. It 
was a pure emanation of venom towards the Southern peo 
ple and towards my State. There was no necessity for it, 
and I have felt it my duty to allude to it as I have done. 
I wish to repeat, as I close, the remarks which I made 
when this discussion opened. I do not stand here to ask 
for this bill for the benefit of the white people of North 
Carolina. They do need aid of course, but they would not 
need it, if their ability to pay taxes and to educate their own 
people, could be concentrated upon their own color, but the 
colored people in their midst are citizens of North Carolina. 
They are entitled to the same treatment precisely that any 
other citizens of North Carolina are entitled to at the hands 
of the law-makers of the State. There is now, and there 
has been no disposition to treat them in any other way. Poor 
as we are, our taxes are levied indiscriminately without 
regard to race or color, and expended for the benefit of all 
the illiterate children of North Carolina. In consequence 
of that burden, in consequence of the condition that every 
man knows that the State of North Carolina and the South 
was placed in by the results of the war, I have felt it my 
duty to support this bill in order to get what relief I could 
and against the dangers and evils of illiteracy that the 
State is not competent to oppose. I wish to say that these 
constant taunts and twittings of the States of the South 
with their poverty and their inability to keep their people 
properly educated, have long ago ceased to be merely a want 
of magnanimity, and have passed in the boundaries of 
positive and absolute meanness. It threatens to convert 
the insolent pride of Tom Bounderby, of Coketown, into 
pious humility and to elevate by contrast the character of 
Pecksniff into that of a most respectable Christian gentle 
man. Magnanimous Senators would not do it, sir. 



424 LIFE OF VANCE. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

PRESIDENT DAVIS REPORTED THREAT TO COERCE THE 
SECEDING STATES. 

Remarks in the Senate Contradicting Statement of General Sherman 
that President Davis Had Threatened to Coerce North Carolina if 
Vance Should Attempt to Take the State Out of the Confederacy. 



Senate having under consideration the following 
resolution relating to a paper filed in the War De 
partment by General Sherman, affecting the conduct of 
Jefferson Davis and others, to-wit: 

Resolved, That the President of the United States be, and he is 
hereby requested, if in his opinion it be not incompatible with the 
public interest, to communicate to the Senate a historical statement 
concerning the public policy of the executive department of the Con 
federate States during the late war of the rebellion, reported to have 
been lately filed in the War Department by General William T. Sher 
man. 

Mr. Vance said : 

MR. PRESIDENT: As the Senate will probably pass this 
resolution and place upon its records an unofficial paper, 
filed in the War Department by General W. T. Sherman, 
which contains statements affecting certain persons, it is 
but right and proper that all persons so affected should be 
heard in the same forum. As one thus interested, I desire 
to notice some statements made in that communication to 
the War Department. In order that I may not be misin 
terpreted I have placed in writing the material portions of 
what I desire to say, which shall be very brief. 

It is understood and, I believe, not denied that in a speech 
made not long since in Saint Louis, Mo., General Sherman 
said he had seen a letter written by Mr. Jefferson Davis to 
a Governor of a Southern State during the war, now a Sen- 



LIFE OF VANCE. 425 

ator, in which Mr. Davis threatened the coercion of any 
Southern State that should attempt to secede from the Con 
federacy. As there are, I believe, three Senators at least 
on this floor who were Governors of Southern States during 
the war, myself being one, I immediately on the appear 
ance of that statement denied through the Post of this city 
that any such letter had ever been received by me. The 
newspapers soon afterward stated that General Sherman 
had been interviewed as to my denial, and had stated that he 
had not alluded to me as the person to whom the alleged 
letter had been addressed. I very naturally thought that 
this denial at both ends of the line had concluded the mat 
ter so far as I was concerned; but it seems not. In the 
statement filed in the War Department, as published in the 
papers of the country, I find the following assertion : 

At Raleigh, though the mass of the public records had been car 
ried off, yet a number were left behind at the State-house and at the 
Governor s mansion, called the "palace," which we occupied as head 
quarters during our stay there, namely, from April 13 to April 29, 1865. 

These records and papers were overhauled by provosts-marshal 
and clerks, who delivered to Adjutant-General Sawyer such as con 
tained material information, and my personal attention was only drawn 
to such as were deemed of sufficient importance. Among the books 
collected at the palace in Raleigh was a clerk s or secretary s "copy 
book," containing loose sheets and letters, among which was the par 
ticular letter of Mr. Davis to which I referred in my Saint Louis 
"speech." I gave it little attention at the time, because Mr. Davis was 
then himself a fugitive, and his opinion had little or no importance, 
but it explained to my mind why Governor Vance, after sending to me 
commissioners to treat for his State separately, had not awaited .my 
answer. It was the subject of common talk about my headquarters 
at the time, or, as stated by Colonel Dayton in a recent letter to me 
from Cincinnati, "I am quite sure that we generally talked [that] it 
was the desire of Governor Vance and the State officials to take North 
Carolina out of the Confederacy, as I have stated, but they were afraid 
of Jefferson Davis and wanted protection." 

Concerning this I have the following observations to 
make : 

i. That no letters or documents of a public character 



426 LIFE OF VANCE. 

were ever left at my residence in the Governor s mansion, 
while I was Governor, at any time. 

2. No clerk or secretary of mine ever used as a reposi 
tory for my correspondence a "copy-book;" all official or 
public letters being first copied in the letter-book required 
by law to be kept in the executive office, and then bound 
into bundles and placed in the files, where they remain to 
this day. 

3. General Sherman did not find in that copy-book u the 
particular letter of Mr. Davis to which he referred in his 
Saint Louis speech," for the simple reason that there was 
no such letter there. 

4. I aver most positively, on the honor of a gentleman 
and an American Senator, that no letter containing such a 
threat was ever received by me from Mr. Jefferson Davis. 
All letters from him to me of any nature are to be found 
copied in the letter-books of the executive department of 
North Carolina, now in the War Department in this city. 

The reasons given by General Sherman by way of cor 
roborating his statement are such as would scarcely be 
relied upon by a respectable lawyer. He says he paid 
"little attention to it at the time," and does not say that he 
ever saw it afterward ; and further, that Mr. Davis was then 
himself a fugitive, and his opinion had little or no impor 
tance ! It was, perhaps, the little attention given to the 
opinions of an unimportant man that enabled him to re 
member so well the contents of the letter in which they 
were expressed after the lapse of nearly twenty years ! The 
suggestion as to the probable fate of that mysterious letter, 
that it was burned in the great fire in Chicago, is a mere 
apology for its non-production, which at the same time 
contradicts the idea of its importance ; for had it been 
such as he says it was, it would certainly have found its 
way to the public files. 

But there is another matter averred by General Sherman 



UFE OF VANCE. 427 

that more nearly concerns me, and to which I shall very 
briefly ask the attention of the Senate. 

It may be that Northern gentlemen who were on the vic 
torious side during the civil war can not properly appreci 
ate the feelings and sentiments of those who were on the 
side of misfortune and defeat. They seem to regard it as 
quite a sin that we do not readily join in the denunciations 
of him who was our leader in the war, and hasten to con 
demn him on all occasions as the surest way of excusing 
our conduct and commending ourselves to the good opin 
ion of our late opponents. Surely no man of even the 
slightest sense of honor could respect a Southern man who 
would thus debase himself. Surely the most flagrant and 
rampant trafficker in the issues of sectional hatred would 
prefer an adversary who walked upright on his feet to the 
one who crawled upon his belly. If not, what must be 
thought of his own manhood? 

Now, sirs, be it known to you, that those of us who 
pledged our faith to each other for the establishment of the 
Confederacy gave up all for which we contended when it 
failed, retaining to ourselves only one solitary satisfying 
reflection, and that was that we had at least served our 
country faithfully, honestly, and devotedly, as we under 
stood it. 

This satisfaction General Sherman s statement would to 
some extent take from me, and this it is, sir, which I resent. 
It is well known that I was drawn into secession unwil 
lingly ; it is also well known that in regard to many of the 
the details of administration I was at variance with the 
authorities of the Confederate government ; but it is equally 
well known, I hope, that, after my own honor was engaged 
and the honor of my native State, there never was an hour 
during all that unhappy time in which I did not give every 
energy of my body, mind, and soul to the success of 
the cause to which I had pledged my allegiance. General 
Sherman, professing high respect for me, for which I thank 



428 LIFE OF VANCE. 

him, thinks, perhaps, that he does me a kindness and com 
mends me to the people of the country by holding out the 
idea that I was disaffected while Governor toward the cause 
for which I was ostensibly fighting, and that I was anxious 
to separate myself and State from the Confederacy, but was 
restrained by fear. Sir, I want no man s respect or good 
will based on the supposed virtues of treason to my coun 
try and the desertion of my associates. The good-will of a 
man who would respect these traits in another is not worth 
picking up from the dust of the common highways. Gen 
eral Sherman says that the commissioners whom I sent to 
meet him as he approached Raleigh, to-wit : ex-Governor 
Swain and ex-Governor Graham and Surgeon-Gener